Whilst the effort is there on the part of the Newcastle Knights, the consistency is not and that was the telling factor as their opponents, the Penrith Panthers, ran rampant and blew them off the park.
The Panthers ended up resounding 40-0 winners on the back of solid games from veteran hooker Peter Wallace, halfback Nathan Cleary and debutant Corey Harawira-Naera.
The comfortable victory was a great way to steel themselves for next week’s clash against competition heavyweights, the Melbourne Storm.
Twice already this year, the Panthers have managed to keep a team scoreless, having prevented the Tigers from scoring any points in Rd 2.
The signs were there that it would be a long night for the Knights, as Penrith scored after just three minutes through winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
The tries continued to flow for the Panthers as Harawira-Narea, Tyrone Peachey and Dean Whare all scored before the break to give the Panthers a 22-0 lead at half-time.
Despite their best efforts to produce something, anything, the Knights indecisiveness, lack of execution and ill-discipline robbed them of any chance to produce points.
Cleary then got a try of his own at the back end of the game as he shrugged off several defenders to round out the commanding win.
Young debutant Harawira-Naera was a surprise packet for many and when he was told by coach Anthony Griffin that he had gotten the nod to play, he was over the moon.
“He (Griffin) made me sleep on it Wednesday night and then Thursday morning I come in for captains run and he gave me the official word,” Harawira-Naera said.
“I was mentally prepared but couldn’t have done it without the boys and the coaching staff.
“Once I left the room I was jumping up and down.”
The young utility drew praise from Griffin for a solid debut and start to his career.
“I was really happy for him, he got a late call-up on Thursday and he’s been one of our unsung heroes in the under-20s and Intrust Super Premiership the last few years and works extremely hard on the training paddock,” Griffin said.
“It was great to give him that opportunity and it was lovely to see him play well and enjoy a win like that tonight.”
Player of the Game:
3. Corey Harawira-Naera
2. Peter Wallace
- Nathan Cleary
Panthers 40 (Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Corey Harawira-Naera, Te Maire Martin, Tyrone Peachey, Peter Wallace, Dean Whare, Nathan Cleary tries; Nathan Cleary 6 goals) defeated Knights 0 at Pepper Stadium. Crowd: 10,567. Half-time: Panthers 22-0.