The NSW Cup Panthers put on an attacking masterclass en route to a 42-16 victory over Mounties at Belmore Sports Ground on Saturday.
The platform was set by strong go-forward by props Eddie Blacker and Lindsay Smith, while all of the Penrith forwards showed great hands, offloading at will as the Panthers charged upfield at every opportunity.
It took the Panthers 14 minutes to trouble the scorers through Eddie Blacker. Soni Luke was able to take advantage of a quick play-the-ball and held the ball up for the rampaging prop forward to score close to the posts. Falls added the extras to give Penrith a 6-0 lead.
The Panthers continued to dominate field position and soon after Preston Riki set up Matt Stimson with a late offload, gifting the left centre an easy route to the line in the 23rd minute of the game. Falls converted from out wide to extend the lead to 12.
Lindsay Smith took inspiration from Scott Sorensen’s solo effort in the NRL victory over the Broncos on Friday with the 194cm prop stepping his way through the Mounties defence and stretching out to give the Panthers a commanding lead. Falls made it three from three in the opening half with a conversion from close range.
Just as it looked like there would be no late points in the opening half Mounties halfback Coby Thomas took matters into his own hands, crossing for a terrific four-pointer through the heart of the Panthers defence. Jarret Subloo added the extras to give Mounties momentum to finish the half.
HALF-TIME: Panthers 18 – Mounties 6
With an added spark in their game, Mounties made it back-to-back tries either side of the half-time siren with Semisi Kioa pouncing on an error from Panthers fullback Sunia Turuva. Subloo couldn’t add the extras from out wide.
Mavrik Geyer returned serve for Penrith when he took advantage of a great run from winger Thomas Jenkins. A quick play-the-ball by the winger set up Geyer’s first NSW Cup try straight through the middle of a fractured defensive line.
Penrith were full of running and went on a try-scoring spree in the following eight minutes.
First it was Thomas Jenkins who kept the play alive following a Sean O’Sullivan cross-field kick. Jenkins jinked and stepped before he placed a pin-point grubber for a flying Sunia Turuva through the centre of the field.
Five minutes later Christian Crichton busted through the attempted tackle of two defenders and spun his way past Mounties fullback Brad Abbey.
Arguably the best four-pointer of the afternoon came when Luke combined with five-eighth Sean O’Sullivan who laid on a sublime short ball for J’maine Hopgood. Falls continued his perfect afternoon with the boot, making it seven from seven and extending the score to 42-10.
Jarrett Subloo ensured Mounties would leave Belmore with something to smile about as he regathered a perfectly placed chip kick and ran the ball in under the posts with four minutes to play.
FULL-TIME: Panthers 42 – Mounties 16