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Panthers stun Thunderbolts in huge win

The SG Ball Panthers kicked off their season with a 46-0 annihilation of Victoria Thunderbolts at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday.

Second-rower Harrison Hassett bagged three tries while teammates Isaiya Katoa and Ethan Hutchings were impressive in attack for the home side.

The Panthers asserted their dominance early, with Kamoe Fekitoa crossing for the first try after only seven minutes of play.

Unfortunately the Panthers centre was forced out of the contest several minutes later after appearing to suffer a knee injury in an awkward tackle.

Just as the Thunderbolts appeared set to hit back, a combined defensive effort from six Panthers snuffed out the try-scoring opportunity as the Victorian winger was driven into touch.

Instead it was the Panthers who were next to score, as lock Mason Teague found a gap in the line and charged through.

He was soon followed in by Hassett, with the subsequent conversion from five-eighth Keagan Russell-Smith taking the score to 16-0.

Fancy footwork Russell-Smith, followed by a Katoa rainbow pass to winger Hutchings, made the score 20-0 as the half-time buzzer sounded.


Panthers interchange forward Riley Wake received a no-look pass to muscle his way over the try-line shortly after the break.

Minutes later, Hassett powered over for his second try and to take the score to 30-0.

With fatigue setting in, Victoria continued to hand the ball back to the Panthers and centre Angelis Hotere-Papalii extended the home side's lead to 34-0 with 20 minutes left to play.

Moments later Katoa did it all himself with a chip kick fortuitously evading the Thunderbolts fullback, only to fall back into the Penrith halfback's grasp as he crossed the try-line.

Hassett then wrapped up his impressive hat-trick of tries with a 50-metre break down the left sideline as the Panthers celebrated a one-sided result.


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.