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Panthers demolish Roosters in season opener

Izack Tago and Sunia Turuva bagged hat-tricks as the SG Ball Panthers opened their season with an incredible 64-0 shutout win over Central Coast Roosters at Panthers Stadium on Saturday.

The Panthers were as impressive in defence as they were in attack, repelling the Roosters on a number of occasions and frustrating them into errors.

Niwhai Puru opened the scoring for the Panthers with a looping ball over the top to send Ashley Cosgrove over in the corner.

Izack Tago then bagged an early double with two tries in the space of ten minutes.

The first saw Tago charge over off a crash ball close to the line before the barnstorming lock outmuscled the Roosters defence again.

Puru was just shy of nailing a 40-20 to continue Penrith’s dominance in the first half but the ball just landed out on the full.

The five-eighth made up for the mistake though as he snatched the ball against the run of play to almost run the length of the field and score under the posts.

The Panthers extended their lead further minutes later as winger Maxwell Pritchard surged over on the right edge.

A lovely exchange of passes then saw fullback Sunia Turuva spin over under the posts.

Penrith showed little signs of complacency as they crossed over again, this time Connor Mason played it short for Zac Lipowicz to slice through.

HALF-TIME: Panthers 42 Roosters 0

Puru looked to have his second of the afternoon off some fancy footwork close to the line but was denied with an obstruction ruled in the lead-up.

However it did not take long for the Panthers to continue the second half where they left off, with Tago barging over for his third.

Penrith matched their intensity in attack with resolute defence, holding out the Roosters after they earned back-to-back sets near the try line.

Central Coast had a couple of opportunities to post their first points of the afternoon but were continually turned away before Turuva raced away to score in the 55th minute.

The speedy fullback was then backing up in support to steam onto an offload from Lachlan Blackburn, who was a constant threat through the middle.

Blackburn almost bagged a try of his own when he dragged five defenders with him over the line, only to lose possession.

A string of slick passes had the Roosters seemingly certain to break the Panthers open but again the home side scrambled brilliantly to deny them.

And they were rewarded for that effort as Pritchard backed up in support to race away and score the final try of the afternoon.

FULL-TIME: Panthers 64 Roosters 0

Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.