Last week fill-in Panthers half Matt Burton was left devastated after missing five field goals against the Knights. Tonight, he made up for it – and then some.
Burton scored two first half tries to set up a commanding 26-0 victory for Penrith over the Warriors at Campbelltown Stadium.
The Panthers led 16-0 at half-time thanks to Burton’s double and sensational solo try from halves partner Jarome Luai.
Keen to avoid a repeat of last week – where they failed to score a second half point – Penrith started the second half in style, with a spectacular Moses Leota charge and a brilliant Viliame Kikau pass leading to a Josh Mansour try in the opening minutes.
The Warriors simply couldn’t get themselves back into the contest, and when Billy Burns crossed 17 minutes from full-time, it destroyed any chance of an unlikely comeback.
Coach Ivan Cleary would have been most impressed with his forwards – they ran with gusto, highlighted by James Fisher-Harris who ran for more than 200 metres for the first time in his career.
“He’s still young, he’s tough and he’s got a great motor,” Cleary said of Fisher-Harris.
“He’s a good man to have.”
Cleary said he was happy with where Penrith are sitting at this stage of the revised season.
“We’re chipping away at trying to become what we want to be. There’s a long way to go but we’re making some progress. Tonight was a good step,” he said.
The win ensures Penrith’s unbeaten run to the 2020 season stays in tact – and for tonight at least, they move to the top of the NRL ladder.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.