Jono Rolfe’s Jersey Flegg Cup team crushed the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 44-10 in a one-sided battle at HE Laybutt Field on Sunday afternoon.
Isaiah Iongi bagged a double, while Addison Williams kicked six-from-eight conversions. Connor Mason was dominant around the ruck and Hohepa Puru was impressive in defence to guide their team to 34-point victory.
Hooker Connor Mason provided the Panthers with an opportunity to open the scoring in the sixth minute, charging straight through Sea Eagles defence before flicking a pass to five-eighth Keagan Russell-Smith who dived under the posts. After an injury scare earlier in the game, Addsion Williams slotted the conversion from in-front to extend the Panthers lead.
Five minutes later Sanele Aukusitino picked up the ball from dummy-half and crashed over the try-line in the corner for Manly. Kaeo Weekes kicked the conversion to level the scores in the 13th minute.
Penrith were granted repeat sets in the minutes that followed, as a result of the Sea Eagles being offside. Captain Hohepa Puru charged at the Manly line from close range, weaving through the line to add another four-pointer to the board for his team. Williams made no mistake with the conversion, putting the Panthers six-points ahead.
Jersey Flegg Highlights: Sea Eagles v Panthers
The referee sent Sea Eagles forward Zac Fulton to the sin-bin in the 26th minute for ill-discipline when Penrith were progressing downfield due to six-again penalties.
Strong defence from Williams and Russell-Smith shut down Manly’s attacking raid as they looked to draw level on the brink of half time.
But at the other end of the field, great awareness from Penrith’s spine saw the ball spread across to the right edge, giving William Fakatoumafi the chance to stretch out and ground the ball in the corner. Williams’s conversion sailed through the uprights after the siren, sending the visitors to the sheds with a 12-point lead.
HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 18 - SEA EAGLES 6
Five minutes into the second-half Russell-Smith produced a brilliant grubber kick that sat up perfectly into the hands of his SG Ball premiership winning teammate Sam Lane. Williams’ conversion attempt waved away, keeping the score at 22-6.
In the 50th minute second-rower Sunita Lotoaniu identified a three-on-two overlap on the left edge sending Williams over in the corner off a cut-out ball. The winger couldn’t convert his own try from touch.
Iongi claimed two tries in the space of five minutes to further extend the visitors’ lead, while Williams kicked both conversions to bury the Sea Eagles hopes of a comeback.
A dominant attacking display from Aston Warwick and Lane saw Penrith progress 50 metres towards their try-line, with Warwick claiming the four-pointer later in the set. Williams added the extras from the medium range to put Penrith 38-points ahead.
As the clock ticked from minutes to seconds, Weekes crossed the line for Manly but couldn’t convert his own try.
FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 44 - SEA EAGLES 10