Penrith have their fingertips on the minor premiership after a 30-6 demolition of the Wests Tigers at Panthers Stadium.
The Panthers are now five points clear of second placed Melbourne at the top of the table. The Storm play tomorrow and can reduce the gap to three points.
Penrith have four regular season games left before the Finals and three of them are against the bottom three sides on the ladder. All eyes are on a blockbuster against Parramatta in a fortnight.
Ivan Cleary’s side were given an early shock when the Tigers scored first – David Nofoaluma pouncing on a well-placed kick to put Penrith into the unfamiliar spot of having to come from behind.
It took the Panthers almost half an hour to finally get on the board, with Jarome Luai capping off a superb opening half with a four-pointer to bring the home side back level.
Penrith ultimately went into the break leading 14-6 after Liam Martin crossed just before half-time and Nathan Cleary landed a penalty goal to close out the first half.
Second half tries to Brian To’o and Josh Mansour – and a penalty try to Stephen Crichton – saw the Panthers pull away to win the game 30-6.
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.