A dazzling four-try haul from fullback Dylan Edwards led the Panthers to a 44-12 win over the Sea Eagles at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday night.
Edwards got the ball rolling in just the fifth minute and had a hat-trick by half-time as the premiers sent an ominous warning to the rest of the competition with their second big haul in as many weeks.
After Edwards had crossed, a penalty against Panthers hooker Mitch Kenny for a steal gave the Sea Eagles a chance to hit back immediately but Jason Saab was denied by a desperation cover tackle from Sunia Turuva.
Sea Eagles hooker Lachlan Croker produced a 40-20 in the 11th minute but the visitors were unable to capitalise on the opportunity and six minutes later the Panthers were in again when Stephen Crichton delivered a superb pass out of dummy half to put Brian To'o over in the corner.
An offside penalty against Kelma Tuilagi handed Nathan Cleary an easy shot from close range and the halfback knocked it over for a 14-0 lead.
Edwards ghosts through
Come the 29th minute and Edwards had a double after he put some footwork on Kaeo Weekes and cruised over to make it 20-0 with Cleary's conversion.
Edwards had a hat-trick soon after when Soni Luke, Isaah Yeo and Cleary combined to set the fullback up and back-rower Scott Sorensen made it 32-0 at the break when he capitalised on more skilful lead-up work by Luke.
A horror start to the second half for Manly with Daly Cherry-Evans kicking out on the full but a timely intercept by returning winger Jason Saab defused the danger.
Crichton bullet pass finds To'o
The Sea Eagles made it over the line in the 51st minute through Ethan Bullemor but the bench forward was penalised for a double movement.
Two minutes later the Panthers exploded from 40 metres out when Crichton found To'o who found Edwards looming in support for his fourth try.
To the Sea Eagles' credit they refused to lie down and came up with a try through Saab off a neat Cherry-Evans grubber to make the score 38-6.
Luke continued his impressive night when he darted out of dummy half and earned Penrith a repeat set with a well weighted grubber kick but Manly held on.
With seven minutes to play the Sea Eagles worked their way upfield on the back of a penalty and Tom Trbojevic grabbed a four-pointer after Crichton had spilled a bomb. Cherry-Evans' converted for 38-12.
A try to Cleary in the final minute off a Luke grubber put the icing on the Panthers' third win of the season.
Match: Panthers v Sea Eagles
Round 6 -
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith
- Dylan Edwards, Brian To'o and Izack Tago ran for 463 metres between them in the first half.
- Sea Eagles winger Reuben Garrick left the field for a HIA in the 27th minute and was unable to return to the field.
- Panthers hooker Mitch Kenny was placed on report in the 50th minute for a high tackle.
- Dylan Edwards became the first Panther to score four tries in a match since Charlie Staines against Cronulla in Round 9, 2020. He also had 187 running metres and 11 tackle breaks.
- Panthers bench forward Lindsay Smith went on report for a dangerous tackle in the 66th minute.
Croker nails a 40/20
- Manly hooker Lachlan Croker's 40-20 in the 11th minute of the match was the third of his career.
- Panthers centre Izack Tago had a night out on Penrith's left edge with seven tackle breaks and 187 running metres.
- The Panthers have won their past seven games against the Sea Eagles.
- Panthers winger Brian To’o has scored four tries in his past four games against the Sea Eagles. He ran for 246 metres on the night.
- The Sea Eagles have not won at BlueBet Stadium since 2018.
- Jake Trbojevic got through a power of defence for Manly with 45 tackles.
Dylan Edwards is having some night
Play of the Game
Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards capped a stunning first half when he completed his first career hat-trick in the 34th minute after brilliant lead-up work by Soni Luke, Isaah Yeo and Nathan Cleary, who delivered the final pass. Edwards ran for 127 metres in the first half and had four line breaks as he produced two solo tries and then finished off some slick passing for his third.
Edwards has a hat-trick
What They Said
"I think Dyl [Edwards] stopped flying under the radar a long time ago. Great for him to get the rewards. Nice to see that combination developing between he and Nathan in particular. That will reap rewards down the track I think. He's pretty similar most weeks. Fullback is a position where most teams have a good one. I don't know where Dyl rates so maybe he has a got a bit of a chip on his shoulder [about where he rates among the fullbacks]." - Panthers coach Ivan Cleary
Panthers: Round 6
"From a physical point of view they beat us to the punch. I think they won just about every contest in the first half so that was the disappointing thing. We could've thrown the towel in at half-time but I thought the guys showed a fair bit of fight but too late. If you're off a little, they'll put you to the sword, they're the premiers." - Sea Eagles coach Anthony Seibold
Sea Eagles: Round 6
The Panthers travel to Newcastle in Round 7 to face the Knights, a team they beat twice in 2021 with a combined score of 80-26. Kangaroos forward Liam Martin is a chance to return from a hamstring injury.
The Sea Eagles are at home in Round 7 for a clash with old rivals Melbourne Storm.