Penrith Panthers celebrated their Minor Premiership in style, piling on the points in a 42-nil result against Canterbury this afternoon at a sun drenched Stadium Australia.
It was 17 years since their last trophy and the Penrith partied in style with an eight try to none thumping of the Bulldogs. Brent Naden and Kurt Capewell scored doubles as it was another star turn for Jarome Luai on the eve of the finals next weekend.
There is a spirit around this Panthers side. It showed in how they mobbed James Tamou after he scored to make it 42-nil. It also showed in the defense which blanked the Bulldogs and it showed in the points created by their backline, led by Luai and Nathan Cleary. The former had a hand in most of the tries and Cleary's kicking has helped them to this fantastic feat this season.
One sour note for the contest came in the first half. English forward Luke Thompson was put on report for a suspected eye gouge of Panthers prop James Tamou and might face an anti-climatic end to a solid first season down under.
The opening half hour was looked like an end of season contest where Brian To'o crossed for the only four-pointer. Once it clicked, the Panthers were their usual irrestible selves. Kurt Capewell touched down twice then Brent Naden added to his impressive tally to in a blink of an eye made it 22-nil.
For much of the second half, it looked like an exhibition of Panthers perfection. Josh Mansour showed acrobatics to add the first score of the second half then Naden completed his double from a kick and the Minor Premiers were in party mode.
Matt Burton who hasn't seen much football since the early rounds, got himself on the field and ran a tough line to make it 36-nil. Panthers just dazzled and in one piece of play stepped past the whole Bulldogs side before captain Tamou completed the rout.
For the Bulldogs, they will be glad to see the end of the 2020 season. Their main objective was to avoid the spoon which was achieved. They will carry a pair of injury concerns to Jayden Okunbor and Raymond Faitala-Mariner into the off-season but the rebuild begins now under Trent Barrett for the once-fabled Dogs of War.