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The Penrith Panthers have turned on the magic to finish the NRL Magic Round with a 48-12 victory over the Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday night.
Looking pretty in pink, the Panthers looked 'on' from the get go but it took some time for them to get on the board, with an early claim by Brian To'o - but an obstruction on Kevin Proctor had chalked that one off. The Titans also had a try knocked back by the bunker after Nathan Cleary was taken out.
The Panthers crossed just after the 10-minute mark when Nathan Cleary kept the ball alive and charged at the line after Isaah Yeo was able to force an offload away and Cleary got to the line to score. The Panthers were down to 12 men when Moses Leota was sin binned for a dumb shot on Jamal Fogarty as he kicked the ball.
The sin bin period didn't hurt the Panthers at all as they dominated possession - Cleary was able to cross for a second try after running a dangerous line as Dylan Edwards drew in defenders, and allowing the halfback a free passage to the line.
It took James Fisher-Harris almost two years to score a try when he broke his drought last weekend, but it was just 9 days between meat pies this time round, when the 'Fish' charged at the line to score off a good short ball from Cleary. The man who set up the try then slotted the conversion and the Panthers were leading 18-0.
Penrith continued their flair when Leota went from villain to hero, after Edwards ran 90m to put the Panthers into field position and it was Leota the unlikely man to get the ball and charge at the line to score.
Things then went from bad to worse for the Titans when Herman Ese'ese was sent off for a tackle that could only be described as careless and silly, when he took off extremely early out of the line and collected Brian To'o high. There was very little hesitation from Adam Gee to dismiss the Titans forward.
The Panthers were able to add one more try before the break, creating space with Stephen Crichton who sent Charlie Staines over to score. Cleary converted from the sideline to give his side a 30-0 lead at the half time break.
Coming out of the half-time break, Penrith continued their momentum when Staines crossed for his second try of the night after Cleary read that the Titans defence would rush up - leaving Staines unmarked after to cross for his second four-pointer.
They were able to cross soon after, with some good hands from Fisher-Harris who found Cleary, who in turn found Liam Martin to score untouched. Cleary's conversion put the Panthers up 42-0 with 25 to play.
The Titans then crossed the line twice only to be denied by the bunker for knock ons, then off repeat sets from ensuing penalties, the Panthers were able to hold them out.
In what looked to be the one of the more bizarre calls of the weekend, Viliame Kikau was denied a try by the Bunker after Perenara ruled that in the lead up to the try there was foul play by Liam Martin with a high fend and the four-pointer was knocked back - the Titans awarded a penalty and Martin placed on report.
From the ensuing penalty, the Titans were able to get into good field position and were able to finally cross through Beau Fermor. Jamal Fogarty added the conversion and the Titans trailed by 36. The Titans were able to take advantage of a Panthers side that had switched off, and AJ Brimson had dashed through to score Gold Coast's second not long after.
Penrith were able to get the last laugh when they crossed on the stroke of full time, Cleary sealing his hattrick when he fought his way to the line to score. The conversion from the near the uprights sealed the 48-12 victory.
Next weekend, the Titans face fellow out-of-form side Canterbury at home on Saturday afternoon meanwhile the Panthers take a road trip out to Dubbo to take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Gold Coast Titans 12 - Penrith Panthers 48
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Halftime Score: Gold Coast Titans 0 Penrith Panthers 30
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Nathan Cleary
2 points - James Fisher-Harris
1 points - Moses Leota
GOLD COAST TITANS (12)
Tries: Beau Fermor, Alexander Brimson
Conversions: Jamal Fogarty (2/2)
PENRITH PANTHERS (48)
Tries: Nathan Cleary (3), Moses Leota, James Fisher-Harris, Charlie Staines (2), Liam Martin
Conversions: Nathan Cleary (8/8)