Penrith capitalised on a solid first half to deny the Dragons any momentum in the second to score an emphatic 26 point victory at Panthers Stadium tonight.
A huge crowd of 21,565 packed into the Panthers Stadium and they were rewarded with arguably the best team performance their side has had all year.
Both sides were very evenly matched in a magnificent first half. Play was fast and open, moves were slick and neat and defences were equal to the task. It took until the 22nd minute before any points were registered, courtesy of a penalty goal by Maloney.
With six minutes remaining in the half, Blues Origin hopeful Nathan Cleary scored a brilliant solo try. He got the ball at second receiver, changed direction and then stepped through the defensive line to score to the left of the posts. Maloney converted and the home side went in at the break leading 8-0.
Ben Hunt hobbled off early into the second half and as it turned out, so too did the Dragons attack. Widdop kicked a penalty goal, before Maloney returned serve win one of his own. The last half hour of this game was dominated by Penrith.
Smart and composed play coupled with ill-discipline by the Dragons saw Penrith enjoy the lion share of the ball and field position.
In the 53rd minute, Whare got the ball to Crichton who was seemingly caught in the corner, but he reached out and slams the ball down for a try. Maloney converted from touch.
15 minutes later and Kikau received a crash ball 15 metres from the line and he powered across the stripe, carrying defenders with him to score an amazing try. Maloney again added the extras.
Right on full time, Egan put in a sneaky grubber from dummy half which Campbell-Gillard pounced on for the cherry on top. Maloney converted and the Panthers scored a magnificent 28-2 victory.
Both sides will enjoy the bye next week ahead of Origin 1, where plenty of both sides' lineups are expected to feature on Wednesday-week.