The Panthers’ NRL Nines campaign got off to the best possible start, as they clinched a historic 35-0 win over Sydney Roosters at HBF Park on Friday.
In what was the biggest win posted in NRL Nines history, Penrith trampled the Tricolours with six tries. Viliame Kikau scored two, while Brent Naden, Josh Mansour, Api Koroisau and Nathan Cleary bagged the others.
Viliame Kikau set the tone for the match with the Panthers’ first possession. The Fijian put on a fend and stormed 75 metres to the try line, handing the Panthers an early 6-0 lead.
Moments later, Nathan Cleary teed up the Panthers’ second try. The halfback poked it in behind for Brent Naden, who touched down in the bonus zone for 13-0.
Match Highlights: Panthers v Roosters
Api Koroisau announced his return to the Panthers by laying on a wonderful bonus-zone try for Josh Mansour in the 7th minute. The hooker put a brilliant pass on the chest of Mansour, who dashed away for a third Panthers try.
The Roosters’ goal line defence stood no chance when Viliame Kikau got the ball on the stroke of halftime. The second rower dotted down for his second try of the afternoon, giving the Panthers a big halftime lead.
HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 24 – ROOSTERS 0
Jarome Luai put his dazzling footwork on show to hand Api Koroisau a well-deserved try. The playmaker danced around the goal-line defence to open up a hole for Koroisau, and the hooker strolled through to the bonus zone.
OAK Plus Post-Game: Viliame Kikau
Viliame Kikau capped off his man-of-the-match performance in the final play of the game, drawing in two Roosters defence before unloading for Nathan Cleary to dash away and secure the biggest win in NRL Nines history.
The Panthers will look to secure a Quarter Finals berth in their second group stage match against Newcastle Knights on Saturday.
FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 35 – ROOSTERS 0