Penrith continued their unbeaten start to the 2020 campaign with a comfortable 26-nil result against the New Zealand Warriors tonight at Campbelltown Stadium.
Last weekend, Penrith took their foot off the gas and cost themselves a point. Tonight, it was full steam ahead from the Mountain Men who piled in five tries to blank the New Zealand Warriors and pick up their three win of the 2020 season while the Warriors turn from hero to villain after their strong performance last weekend themselves.
It was easy for young Panthers half Matt Burton to drop his head after his field goal woes last Sunday, but the youngster was in blistering form tonight against a Warriors side in a purple patch of form. Burton scored the opening two tries of the contest and supplied a slick ball to Billy Burns in the second half for a five-star performance to stake his claim to play alongside Nathan Cleary next weekend.
The bubble wasn't burst for the Warriors, it was shattered in one half of football. The Warriors weren't able to keep their high completion rate up unlike Round 3 and they were forced into plenty of defensive work. There were signs when Roger Tuivasa-Sheck or Kodi Nikorima decided to run to find some room but the Warriors side that decimated the Dragons and thrived on their work was absent tonight.
One big question for next weekend will be Penrith's halves. Nathan Cleary should slot back in for their game against x but after strong showings from both Burton and Jarome Luai, both try-scorers and busy in their work, makes it a tough choice for Ivan Cleary.
Penrith started last weekend off like a house on fire, this weekend was more a slow burn. It took 11 minutes for their first points through Burton before the five-eighth doubled the advantage with a fortunate bounce off an errant Blake Green kick.
His halves partner Luai got into the act before the break, kicked ahead in Rugby League Live 4 style and gathered himself to make it 16-nil headed into the break. Panthers on course to redeem themselves after letting their lead slip last weekend.
A pair of tries in the second half from Josh Mansour and Burns - the former ending a 18-game drought - blew out the margin and made it the best start for the Panthers since the late 1990s as they chase a much more successful campaign this year.
For the Warriors, once the roll started it is hard to stop. They defended gallantly in the first half but against the Panthers attack combined with a lack of possession saw them complete an inglorious turnaround from nil stars to niled. Now they trot back to Terrigal to lick their wounds and prepare for next weekend.