Penrith have claimed an historic fifth Minor Premiership after a 44-12 throttling of North Queensland at BlueBet Stadium.
It is the first time in the club’s history they have claimed back-to-back Minor Premierships.
The J.J. Giltinan Shield was presented to the Panthers after full-time by NRL CEO Andrew Abdo in front of a sellout crowd of more than 21,500.
The Panthers never looked like losing, going into half-time leading 26-0 and only briefly allowing the Cowboys back into the contest in the early stages of the second half.
The defeat ended the Cowboys’ season. Todd Payten’s side needed to win to clinch a Finals berth.
But with the Minor Premiership up for grabs, Penrith coach Ivan Cleary opted not to rest any top-line stars – and the risk paid off.
“It was a great night for the club,” Cleary said post-match.
“It’s four years in a row we’re first or equal first at the end of the year. I’m really proud of that. Consistency is such a big part of being successful and I think we’ve shown that for a long period of time.”
The Panthers will face the Warriors in a Qualifying Final next weekend at BlueBet Stadium. Tickets will go on sale to Members from 10am on Monday.
While the Minor Premiers traditionally open the Finals series on the Friday night, the Weekender understands the NRL is leaning towards scheduling Penrith’s match on Saturday evening.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.