A late flurry of tries has seen the Penrith Panthers rise to the top of the NRL table with a 36-14 thrashing of the Gold Coast Titans in front of 10,000 fans at Robina tonight.
The infamous five-year plan implemented by club boss Phil Gould looks like it's coming to fruition early at the foot of the mountains - the Panthers will finish the round in first place as we reach the halfway point of the 2014 NRL season and it's largely thanks to an excellent recruitment drive and a well-timed blooding of young talent.
Penrith started with several sets in defence early on before James Segeyaro stepped through several feeble tackle attempts to run 40 metres to score the opening try of the night. The visitors then struggled for ball and field position for the next twenty minutes, conceding a try via Titans' prop Luke Douglas, then conceding an unnecessary penalty goal to trail by two.
The new ladder leaders started flexing their muscle in the ten minutes leading into halftime, striking through Lewis Brown off a similar Segeyaro run, then a penalty goal on halftime putting them ahead 14-8 at the break.
Errors littered the opening exchanges of the second half before the Panthers extended their lead to ten through a try to Isaah Yeo. The Panthers backed it up with a long-ranger to Tyrone Peachey to take the score to 24-8 before a desperate Titans outfit hit back with an entertaining try to David Mead.
But the day was Penrith's - Jamie Soward and Matt Moylan both scored in the final ten minutes to put the Titans away with a final 32-14 scoreline.
The visitors weren't without their issues though - Sika Manu (eyeball) and David Simmons both left the field injured during the game. They'll be assessed before Penrith head home to host the St. George Illawarra Dragons. The Titans are at home again next week against the Melbourne Storm.