The NSW Cup Panthers continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 42-6 demolition job on St George Illawarra Dragons at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday.
It was a true team effort for the home side, with seven individual try scorers and halfback Kurt Falls on song with the boot.
Starting at right centre, Brent Naden opened the scoring after only three minutes as he grubber kicked a loose ball into the in-goal and won the race to ground it. Halfback Kurt Falls kicked the conversion to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead.
From their next possession the Panthers extended their advantage as centre Izack Tago broke through the line on the left edge. Drawing the Dragons fullback, he found Jaeman Salmon in support and the five-eighth scored the try. Falls was on target with the conversion attempt and the home side led 12-0.
Tago and Salmon again combined to create the next try for the Panthers in the 28th minute. The centre found a late offload for Salmon to distribute to winger Taylan May, who cut back and scored. Falls knocked the conversion over to give the Panthers an 18-0 lead.
HALF-TIME – Panthers 18 – Dragons 0
The Panthers continued their point-scoring ways five minutes after the break as hooker Brendan Hands found a hard-running J’maine Hopgood. The lock powered through the defensive line to score. The conversion from Falls took the Panthers to a 24-0 lead.
Falls added a try to his personal points tally in the 55th minute as Soni Luke put him into a gap with a well-timed short ball.
In the final quarter of the game, Sunia Turuva took his leave, shifting Brent Naden to fullback, Jaeman Salmon to centre and Brendan Hands to five-eighth. The move worked out well for Hands, who put in a perfect grubber for Tago to dive on the 64th minute. Falls was again on target and the Panthers lead 36-0.
With nine minutes left to play, Panthers prop Billy Tsikrikas stood in the tackle and popped an offload for Scott Sorensen to step the fullback and stroll over. Another conversion from Falls gave the Panthers a 42-0 lead.
The game unfortunately finished on a sour note for Falls in the 75th minute, as the Panthers playmaker was assisted off with an ankle injury.
The Dragons scored a late try through centre Charly Runciman as the Panthers spilled a bomb, but it was mere consolation as the Panthers continued their undefeated start to the 2021 season.
FULL-TIME - Panthers 42 - Dragons 6