Penrith Panthers have kept their perfect start to the season intact to go top of the NSW Cup ladder with a 40-10 win over Newcastle Knights at BlueBet Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
With J'maine Hopgood and Lindsay Smith backing up from the NRL side’s win in Bathurst, the Panthers scored seven tries to two in soggy conditions in Penrith.
Matt Stimson, Thomas Jenkins and Robert Jennings all scored doubles as the Panthers produced a sizzling performance to remain unbeaten this season.
Jennings went close to grabbing the opening try of the game when he beat four defenders to scramble 15 metres, only to be held up over the line.
However, after gaining a repeat set, the Panthers scored on the ensuing possession when centre Matt Stimson pounced on a Kurt Falls grubber kick – and Falls landed the conversion for a 6-0 lead.
It took just five minutes for Stimson to bag another four-pointer, linking up with hooker Soni Luke and Kurt Falls to score under the posts.
The home side extended their lead to 16 points when winger Thomas Jenkins stormed onto a Niwhai Puru grubber kick for the third try of the game, however Falls couldn’t land the conversion from the left touchline.
Jenkins also secured a first-half double when he received a lovely harbour bridge pass from Puru to score down the left touchline – and Falls slotted the conversion to give the Panthers a 22-0 advantage at the break.
The first-half shutout means the Panthers are yet to concede a point in the opening 40 minutes of each game this season.
HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 22 - KNIGHTS 0
It took just two minutes for the Panthers to trouble the scorers after the break with Sunia Turuva cutting loose down the right edge to link with Jennings for a stunning four-pointer.
The Knights managed to break their scoring drought after 53 minutes when Pasami Saulo crashed over and Dylan Phythian landed the conversion to reduce the deficit to 22-6.
Jennings became the third player of the afternoon to score a double after he chased down a grubber kick to plant the ball down shy of the dead-ball line. Falls landed another conversion for a 34-6 lead.
The Knights had their second try of the afternoon when forward Jirah Momoisea sliced through to score.
Panthers fullback Turuva was rewarded with a try of his own when he raced through a lovely kick from Falls, who also landed the conversion.
FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 40 - KNIGHTS 10