Penrith Panthers dominated in Round 7 of the Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, thrashing Canberra Raiders 44-12 on Sunday at BlueBet Stadium.
Panthers halves Sean O’Sullivan and Kurt Falls were impressive in attack, while winger Thomas Jenkins bagged two tries to help the home side to a 32-point triumph.
The Panthers dominated early and were rewarded with the first try when O’Sullivan and Falls connected to find Jenkins on the left wing. Jenkins took on three Raiders, busting through the line to ground the ball in the corner. The conversion attempted from touch waved to the right for Falls, but the home side were building momentum.
An offload from second-rower Chris Smith put centre Robert Jennings over for the Panthers second try of the game, with Falls having better luck on the right sideline, extending the home side's lead to 10 points.
A strong run from O’Sullivan put the Panthers in good stead to score again, with Mitch Kenny asserting his NRL experience to scoop up the ball from dummy-half and send Eddie Blacker straight through a gap over the line. Falls made no mistake with the conversion from in front of the posts, taking Penrith to a 16-point lead.
The Raiders struggled to enter the game in the late stages of the first half, fumbling two passes within metres of their try-line as Penrith held strong in defence.
Charging at Canberra, Lindsay Smith gave Penrith another opportunity to pile on the points, breaking the line before passing to skipper J’maine Hopgood.
Hopgood looked left to find interchange forward Liam Henry in support who dived over to secure another four points for the home side. Falls added the extras from in front, taking the Panthers lead to 22.
Some crisp passing down the right edge through O’Sullivan and Jennings put winger Christian Crichton over in the corner with three minutes left of the opening half. Falls’ conversion attempt was on target, notching the Panthers advantage out to 28 points.
HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 28 - RAIDERS 0
After a 15-minute stalemate, a kick from O’Sullivan forced the Raiders to concede a goal-line dropout, giving Penrith the chance to jump on the attacking front foot.
A charge from Kenny allowed Hopgood to cross the line, opening Penrith’s second half account in the 53rd minute. The conversion from Falls made it 34-0 to Penrith, who were determined to keep Canberra scoreless as the clock ticked on.
Jarrod Croker took it upon himself to score the Raiders' first try, leaping high into the air to gain possession of a chip kick before grounding the ball in goal. Converting his own try a minute later, Croker reduced the deficit to 28.
Looking for a response, Panthers fullback Sunia Turuva weaved through the Raiders defence to score another four points for the home-side, but Falls failed to convert.
Jenkins secured a double with 10 minutes left of play, gathering a high bomb off the boot of O’Sullivan to place the ball down in goal. Falls conversion sailed through the uprights sealing the win for the Panthers.
A late try by Canberra lock Peter Hola and conversion from Croker were consolations for the away side.
FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 44 - RAIDERS 12