Tyrone Peachey wound back the clock to score two tries as a ruthless Panthers outfit overcame the absence of their Origin stars to defeat the Knights 20-12 at BlueBet Stadium.
With Jarome Luai, Isaah Yeo, Stephen Crichton, Brian To'o and Liam Martin watching from the sideline with injured halfback Nathan Cleary, Peachey stepped up to help ensure the premiers remain in the top two.
Dylan Edwards took over the captaincy and the fullback set the tone for the match when he stepped Knights opposite Kalyn Ponga to score in the ninth minute after an angled Peachey run towards the posts created an opening near the line.
Edwards opens the scoring
In a case of "anything you can do, I can do better", Ponga hit back for Newcastle after sending England winger Dom Young racing down the touchline and backing up to score in the 18th minute.
However, a Peachey double put the Panthers back in control at halftime with the former NSW utility finishing a spectacular handling movement to score in the 26th minute before capitalising on a Knights error to cross nine minutes later.
Peachey pinches the points
Leading 16-6 at halftime, the home side started the second half as they did the first, with five-eighth Jaeman Salmon diving over from dummy half after four repeat sets on the Newcastle tryline.
Fiji international Sunia Turuva had a try disallowed midway through the second half after knocking a Jack Cogger kick into Young before falling over the tryline.
Jackson Hastings kept the Knights in the match when he dummied his way across the try line from close range in the 55th minute but the Penrith defence gave the visitors few other scoring opportunities.
Match: Panthers v Knights
Round 17 -
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith
- Knights prop Jack Hetherington was sin-binned just before halftime for a cuffed slap across the chin of Panthers centre Izack Tago as he was rising to his feet to play the ball.
- Tago (221m) and fellow Tyrone Peachey (179m) helped get Penrith on the front foot with carries from the backfield, while Edwards ran 190m with the ball.
- Newcastle playmaker Jackson Hastings was forced from the field with an ankle injury midway through the second half but returned minutes later and finished the match.
- Hastings scored his first try since joining the Knights this season.
- Penrith did not make an error until six minutes before halftime when centre Sunia Turuva lost the ball and completed 40 of 44 sets of possession.
Ponga puts it down!
- Knights winger Dom Young remains equal top of the NRL try-scoring charts with 16, despite having played two less games than the other player on that number, Maika Sivo. Neither scored in Round 17.
- Penrith have won 12 and drawn one of their past 14 games against the Knights.
- Newcastle have won only one from seven matches away from home in 2023.
- The Knights are still one win short of their 400th victory since joining the premiership in 1988.
- The Panthers have won seven of their past eight games at BlueBet Stadium.
Peachey robs Gagai
Play of the game
Tyrone Peachey's 26th minute try put the Panthers in control and the skill shown by hooker Mitch Kenny and prop James Fisher-Harris as the home side quickly shifted the ball to the edge was impressive to watch.
Peachey powers in
What they said
"I really felt that the boys who played last week deserved another chance with another week's training and preparing. It is always nice to have your best players playing, obviously, but ... I was confident that we would play well. That didn't necessarily guarantee that we would win tonight because I was really conscious of the Knights, how they have been playing and the talent they have got in their team, so it was a terrific performance and I am super proud," - Panthers coach Ivan Cleary.
Panthers: Round 17
"It was frustrating for players and frustrating for staff, we just shot ourselves in the foot a little bit with some execution and got a little bit panicky. The opposition tonight were very professional, they didn't beat themselves. It is frustrating but we have just got to keep swinging. I think both teams started well, there was something like 72 plays consecutively so it was a bit of a ding-dong going on there. We just came up short a couple of times and it hurt us in the end," - Knights coach Adam O'Brien.
Knights: Round 17
The Panthers travel to Melbourne to take on the Storm on Friday night, while the Knights return to Sydney on Sunday to meet the Bulldogs at Accor Stadium.
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary will welcome back Origin stars Stephen Crichton, Jarome Luai, Liam Martin, Brian To'o and Isaah Yeo after they were rested from the match against Newcastle.