Penrith Panthers suffered a 34-10 defeat to the top-of-the-table Sydney Roosters in Round 11 of the Jersey Flegg Cup at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday.
The Roosters dominated in the first half against the Panthers, who struggled to recover from a 30-point half-time deficit.
The Roosters had the upper hand early, after Penrith conceded numerous penalties in the opening five minutes. Winger Jack Mossman eventually capitalised off a three-on-two overlap on the left edge to put the home team on the board in the seventh minute.
Hugo Savala added the extras from touch, extending the Roosters lead to six.
Four minutes later, two decoy runners sprinted side-by-side into the Panthers line, drawing in the defence to create a gap big enough for Thomas Deakin to dive over from dummy-half. A superb conversion from Savala notched the Roosters out to a 12-point lead.
A perfectly placed bomb by Luke Knight was caught by second-rower Riley Meyn mid-air, with the young forward angling his body perfectly to put the ball on the line. Savala made no mistake from close range, putting the Roosters in front 18-0.
The Roosters scored their fourth unanswered try in the 20th minute, with Deakin charging at the line from dummy-half before rolling to the left to claim his second try of the match. Savala continued his dominant kicking form, this time slotting the conversion from beside the posts.
With two minutes left of the first half, Roosters captain Jacob Preston charged at his try-line, muscling his was through a crowd of Panthers to add another four points to the board for Sydney. This time it was Mossman taking the kick from medium-range to carry the home team to a 30-point lead.
HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 0 - ROOSTERS 30
Panthers interchange forward Zac Lipowicz created his team’s first try-scoring opportunity, sprinting 35 metres on the fifth tackle to flatten Roosters fullback Ethan King.
Lipowicz’s effort put Penrith within 15 metres of their try-line, and with some crisp left edge passing Mavrik Geyer drew in two defenders before sending Isaiah Iongi over for the Panthers’ first try of the game. Niwhai Puru’s kick soared through the uprights, reducing the margin to 24-points.
In the 53rd minute, Panthers centre Addison Williams intercepted a pass thrown by Knight, sprinting 40 metres towards his try-line before offloading to winger Cody Lawson who did the rest of the work. Puru’s conversion attempt fell short, as the visitors trailed by 20.
Errors from Penrith allowed Sydney to kick two penalty goals late in the second half to confirm their victory.
FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 10 – ROOSTERS 34