Penrith Panthers have regained top position on the NSW Cup ladder with a 26-6 win against the Newtown Jets at Henson Park on Saturday.
After three consecutive losses, Peter Wallace’s men found form again, crushing the Jets in the top-of-the-table clash.
Panthers winger Daeon Amituanai bagged a double, while halfback Sean O’Sullivan was impressive throughout he afternoon.
Early errors plagued Penrith in attack, with a forward pass and a knock-on called against them in the opening minutes, giving Newtown numerous chances to score.
Absorbing the pressure in defence, stand-in hooker Luke Sommerton created an opportunity in attack, taking a run off dummy-half to split the Jets’ line, with three of his teammates joining him in support. Some quick passes put the ball in the hands of O’Sullivan, who sprinted away untouched to open the scoring in the 10th minute.
O’Sullivan converted his own try seconds later to extend the visitors’ lead to six.
Desperate to respond, Newtown charged at the Panthers line, earning back-to-back penalties. A chip kick from five-eighth Kade Dykes caused confusion among Penrith’s right edge defence, opening up a gap for centre Kayral Iro to run through the line and ground the ball in the 21st minute.
Luke Metcalf slotted the conversion from medium range to level the scores.
An incredible defensive effort from John Faiumu stopped the Jets’ from scoring another try in the following set, with the forward stepping up to catch a kick from hooker Jayden Berrell that broke the Panthers line.
One minute before half-time, Faiumu added another four-pointer to the board for Penrith, receiving a crisp pass from Sommerton off dummy-half before bumping off two Jets to put the ball down. O’Sullivan added the extras on the siren.
HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 12 - JETS 6
In the Panthers first set of the second half, Charlie Staines sprinted through Newtown’s line, running 40 metres before offloading to five-eighth Trent Toelau who did the rest of the work, eventually scoring in the corner.
O’Sullivan’s conversion hit the upright, before bouncing over the crossbar, increasing the Panthers lead to 12.
In the 48th minute, Sunia Turuva broke through the Jets’ defence line, flicking a pass to Amituanai who raced 30 metres downfield before being tackled. Later in the set, the ball made it back to the left edge, this time with Turuva putting Amituanai over on the wing. The conversion attempt from O’Sullivan waved away, leaving the score at 22-6.
With seven minutes left, Penrith sent the ball back to the left edge putting Amituanai over for his second try of the day. Once again, the kick from touch fell short for O’Sullivan but the visitors maintained a 20-point lead.
FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 26 - JETS 6