The top 5 of the NSW Cup is within reach for the Penrith Panthers after comfortably beating the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 28-18 at Parker Street Reserve.
The Panthers jumped back ahead of the Sea Eagles on for-and-against and keep their finals hopes alive.
After starting slowly, the Panthers opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Eddie Blacker ran onto a short ball and crashed over next to the posts, with Cole landing the simple conversion.
They were in again four minutes later when a short drop out from Cooper Johns bounced up kindly for Preston Riki to stroll over in the right-hand corner.
Another attempted short drop out in the 25th minute failed to go the ten metres, allowing Cole a simple shot at goal to extend the lead to 12-0.
The two sides traded chances throughout the remainder of the half, however desperate defence kept the score at 12-0.
Trent Toelau’s attempted two-point field goal on the siren sailed to the right, leaving the Panthers leading by two converted tries at half time.
A poor start to the second half saw the Panthers find themselves under near-constant pressure as a result of errors and penalties, however their defence stood tall, repeatedly turning the Sea Eagles away.
They were rewarded in the 54th minute when Toelau ran the ball on the last, before finding a rampaging Liam Henry to crash over near the posts.
With Cole having just left the field for a HIA, Kurt Falls stepped up to extend the lead to 18-0.
Falls further extended the advantage in the 62 nd minute when he took the ball to the line, then dummied and darted over. He also converted to take the lead to 24-0.
Blacktown finally broke through three minutes later, getting the ball back from a short restart and spreading right later in the set for Jackson Ferris to score in the corner and reduce the Panthers lead to 20.
Any fears of a comeback were short-lived though, with a perfect grubber from Toelau seeing Matt Stimson extend the lead back to 24 with less than ten minutes remaining.
Two late tries (including an 8-point try) to the Sea Eagles would have displeased Panthers coach Ben Harden and saw them reduce the final margin, however the 10-point win was still enough to see the Panthers jump ahead of Blacktown.