Full Time
5:30pm Sat May 25, 2024
Round 12 - PointsBet Stadium, Woolooware / Dharawal - Crowd: 13500

Match Overview

Jarome Luai exhausted all superlatives with a rarified performance as the Penrith Panthers asserted their premiership credentials with a 42-0 victory over the Cronulla Sharks.

Having a hand in multiple tries and suffocating the competition leaders with his kicking game, Luai sent a timely reminded to NSW coach Michael Maguire ahead of the opening State of Origin fixture, while Nicho Hynes will be racing to prove his fitness after passing a HIA but sitting out the second half with calf tightness.

The reigning premiers were ruthless in recording their first victory at PointsBet Stadium since 2012 while extending their record against the Sharks to seven wins from nine matches during Ivan Cleary's second stint at the club. 

Setting a dominant tone from the outset with James Fisher-Harris (4th minute) capitalising on an error forced by Luai's kicking game, the Panthers established a double-digit lead ahead of the clock with Luai (8th minute) taking on the line to leave the hosts stunned.

The Panthers continued to heap pressure on their shellshocked opponents, forcing Hynes to kick out on the full multiple times and exposing the presumptive NSW halfback in defence off a scrum which allowed Paul Alamoti (26th minute) to cross from close range.

The Sharks were powerless to prevent further tries when Hynes was ruled out of the match as Dylan Edwards (32nd minute) and Jack Cole (39th minute) crossed to send the Panthers to the sheds leading 28-0 at the end of a near flawless opening half.

Maintaining the one-way flow of points with Liam Henry (47th minute) pouncing on a kick from Mitch Kenny to collect his first NRL try, the Panthers relentlessly forced repeat sets until a chip kick from Cole allowed Scott Sorenson (65th minute) to score against his former club.

The final stages of the match saw Edwards slot a penalty goal as Izack Tago and Moses Leota were both placed on report.

The Sharks had one final attacking chance after Leota was sent to the sin bin with seconds remaining, however the Panthers remained resolute in defence to run out 42-0 victors.

Next week, the Sharks will face the Eels at CommBank Stadium on Thursday night, while the Panthers will host the Dragons on Saturday evening at BlueBet Stadium.

3. Jarome Luai

If he wasn't in the picture for NSW selection, he certainly is now! The five-eighth turned halfback was remarkable with the ball in hand.

2. Isaah Yeo

Getting through a tonne of work with and without the ball, the captain demonstrated his on-field leadership.

1. Jack Cole

The young playmaker enjoyed a breakout night with a try and an assist to suggest life after Luai will be fine for the Panthers.