The New Zealand Warriors have bid farewell to Fortress Australia in disappointing circumstances going down to the defending premiers 40-6 in front of a big crowd at Moreton Daily Stadium.
It was a tough and tenacious start for the New Zealanders, holding the Panthers at bay and asking plenty of attacking questions towards the Panthers' defence. Penrith thought they crossed early through Dylan Edwards but the Bunker found a tiny knock-on from Liam Martin in the lead-up and the try was taken off them. Off the back of some untimely disciplinary breakdowns, the Panthers crossed when Moses Leota received a lovely pass from Api Koroisau and the Panther express was in full flight from there on. Five minutes later, a well-worked scrum play saw Nathan Cleary pass on the inside to Dylan Edwards and Penrith was motoring onto an impressive 12-0 lead.
New Zealand worked their way back into the game and forced some pressure on the Panthers' defence but was never able to break through the defence through the opening 40 minutes. But, you can never afford to give Penrith a sniff of possession and Taylan May continued his strong try-scoring form with a spectacular finish right on half-time and with the circus act of Cleary's sideline conversion. Penrith had an 18-0 lead at the change of ends.
Penrith's dominance in the competition continued in the second 40, despite an early lack of patience in their attack which led to several errors and many penalties conceded. But a lovely set-up down the right which saw Edwards link up with Cleary who found Stephen Crichton who passed onto Brian To'o and the NSW origin combination connected.
It was a procession down the middle of the field just shy of the hour mark, this led to Isaah Yeo to cross on the back of a lovely pass from Koroisau who did his NSW hopes the world of good with another great performance. Liam Martin crashed over running over the top of NRL debutant Ronald Volkman to cross. New Zealand wouldn't go away and it was a clever 40/20 from Chanel Harris-Tavita which gave them their sole try of the match off a sweeping movement from Volkman to Reece Walsh who found Josh Curran to cross. Penrith had the final say when To'o crossed for his second on the stroke of full-time.
New Zealand have completed their tour of duty, and their two and a half years of thankless sacrifices come to an end as they can finally return home to Auckland before a massive home crowd at Mt Smart, Penrith meanwhile takes on an inconsistent Roosters side in two Friday's time.