It was shaping as an irresistible clash, but the Panthers have turned up the heat on the Roosters in front of 15,000 at CUA Stadium – winning 28-6.
It could have been even more.
The Roosters scored late in the piece, but rarely looked like getting over the line. But the Panthers were running so hot, they could have trotted over for a few more, had the final passes stuck.
Lachlan Coote was a standout for the Penrith side, in a match where many expected Todd Carney to continue his explosion back onto the NRL scene and even push for an Origin berth.
Coote was dynamic and totally consistent for his side.
The loss was another fright for the Roosters, mirroring their forgettable loss to the Bulldogs only a fortnight ago.
While Sydney did make errors, they had little field position to really mount any continual pressure on a Panthers side that was ‘on’ today.
Even Jennings who has struggled for 2010 form was back to his untouchable best, proving a real handful for the Roosters defence whenever he touched the ball.
Roosters coach Brian Smith made mention of the lack of possession and fact that his side put very little if any pressure on Penrith playmaker Luke Walsh.
â€œThe opposition put a lot of physical pressure on us today, a mountain of possession and eventually it took its toll on us … we weren’t quite good enough,â€ coach Brian Smith said.
â€œWalshy played in a dinner suit today and did it perfectly – he ordered the win at the right time and made sure the dessert fronted up as well – he did the works.â€
Next week the Roosters host the Raiders and this could be the ideal game for them to get their mojo back. The Panthers have a tough road trip to NZ and will meet the Warriors in Auckland.