Penrith has brushed aside any doubts over their premiership credentials with an impressive 28-12 win over Canberra at a wet Panthers Stadium.
After repelling an early attacking onslaught from the Raiders, the Panthers put on four classy first half tries to open up an unbeatable 24-0 lead at half-time.
The Panthers didn’t score a try in the second half but had done enough in the first 40 minutes to secure the two competition points.
Canberra were better in the second half but never really looked like winning, with Penrith always in control of the game’s momentum.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was particularly thrilled with the way his side started the game.
“I was pretty happy, obviously. I thought that first six sets… it wasn’t just the way we tackled but the way we organised ourselves in that period,” he said.
“To then be able to come down and execute a set play and score gives me a lot of confidence.”
Cleary said he was pleased the side was playing consistent football and said he understands premiership talk will now surround the team.
“I’m happy for the team to get some credit – I think they deserve it,” he said.
“We’re just enjoying each week… we’re obviously in good form.”
The eighth straight win equals a club record set in 2003.
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.