Peter Wallace’s NSW Cup Panthers ran riot over Mounties in their final home game of the regular season, scoring seven tries to secure a 42-10 win at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday.
A first half double to J’maine Hopgood laid the platform for the home side while Kurt Falls kicked seven from seven on his 26th birthday to seal the victory.
Opting for a short kick-off, Mounties put the Panthers on the backfoot early. The visitors were granted repeat sets in the early minutes of the match before a left-edge overlap opened up an opportunity for Tuipulotu Katoa to dive over in the corner. Fullback Dylan Smith was unable to convert the try from touch.
An offload from Lindsay Smith landed in the hands of Soni Luke who found J’maine Hopgood before the hard running lock-forward charged through the 18th minute to level the scores. Kurt Falls nailed the conversion from in front to give the home team a two-point advantage.
Only eight minutes after his first try, Hopgood reached out through three Mounties defenders to score his second. Falls slotted the conversion to increase his team’s lead.
Panthers hooker Luke kicked a grubber from dummy-half in the 29th minute which bounced up perfectly into the hands of Alec Susino, who grounded the ball behind the posts to secure his first try of the 2022 season. Falls added the extras from close range to give Penrith a 14-point lead.
Six minutes before half-time Falls placed a superb chip kick for Thomas Jenkins that sat straight into the centre’s hands as he ran through the Mounties defence. Falls converted Jenkins’ 19th try of the season to put Penrith ahead by 20.
HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 24 - MOUNTIES 4
Maintaining their first-half momentum the Panthers crossed again two minutes into the second-half when Jack Cole put Robert Jennings through a gap in the line. Falls kicked his fifth conversion from five attempts to extend the lead to 26.
A barnstorming run from Daeon Amituanai was cut short by a professional foul from Mounties fullback Dylan Smith, who received 10 minutes in the sin-bin for not releasing from the tackle.
In the 54th minute, Isaiah Iongi pounced on a Luke grubber to claim his third try in two weeks. Falls maintained his goal-kicking accuracy to add another two points to the board.
Ten minutes later a backline play from right to left found Jenkins who muscled his way over for a double to climb to the top of the try-scoring ladder in NSW Cup this season.
Mounties five-eighth Brad Abbey claimed a four-pointer for his team in the 67th minute, which was converted by Smith to reduce the deficit to 32 points.
FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 42 - MOUNTIES 10