It was meant to be all about Latrell Mitchell and his much-hyped return for South Sydney but the Sunday storyline at Apex Oval in Dubbo was all about the Penrith Panthers.
The Panthers clocked up the half century for the first time this season on their way to a 56-12 thumping of the Rabbitohs, marking their eleventh straight win to start the season.
Matt Burton put on a show in his old home town, scoring three tires in a stand-out performance on the left.
Nathan Cleary was in sensational form yet again, grabbing two tries as part of a 26-point haul.
The Panthers made it look easy despite the late withdrawals of Dylan Edwards and Moses Leota, rushing out to a 16-0 lead after as many minutes.
Souths looked completely out of sorts, providing little answers to a Penrith attacking juggernaut that shows no sign of slowing down.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was impressed with the victory.
“The scoreline surprises you but I was always confident we’d play well. I could feel the boys could sense this was a good occasion,” he said.
Souths coach Wayne Bennett was short and sharp in his post-match press conference.
“It was pretty disappointing,” he said.
“There’s lots of things lacking out there.
“Penrith were wonderful. They played great football.”
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.