Josh Mansour

The first half was nothing to harp on about but come the second half, the Penrith Panthers came out all guns blazing and raced to a 30-8 win, with coach Ivan Cleary optimistic about just how much his side can achieve in 2014.

Scoring 24 unanswered points, the Panthers were far too good, though the march was marred by concussion injuries to Knights players Tyrone Roberts and Kurt Gidley, as well as a hamstring injury for Darius Boyd.

For Boyd, he could potentially miss three weeks, if he has indeed torn his hamstring.

After a solid first-up win, Cleary was pleased that his side remained focus and was particularly pleased with the displays of some of his new players.

“The start of the game wasn’t like round one – both teams were pretty accurate,” Cleary said.

“It was really to and fro that first 20 minutes and it took a lot out of everyone. Our attack was a bit clumsy in the first half and that was because the boys were out on their feet a bit.

“But in the second, it was much better and the points seemed to come for us.

“They had some bad luck with injuries … but we are very happy to get through that and get a win.

“It was a good, tough win but we had a few new faces and that is going to take time.”

There was one area that Cleary was left a touch disappointed with, after the Panthers had a try disallowed due to a shirt pull on Kurt Gidley.

“That’s been going on since the game started,” Cleary said.

“I thought it was a really tough call to take the try away.”

For the Knights, coach Wayne Bennett admitted that his side could only do so much with 14 players and that despite the loss, he was pleased with their efforts.

“We had two with concussion, one with a hamstring. These situations happen and you can’t really plan for them,” Bennett said.

“We had guys out of position and it just wasn’t running for us. But I was elated with the effort. They didn’t deserve to get beaten by 30-odd points.”

As for the injuries, Bennett is not expecting Boyd to play next week in Canberra.

“Hamstrings are always hard. It could be a week; it could be two or three,” he said.

“It will certainly be more than a week, you would assume. There is a tear in there somewhere.

“With the concussions, Kurt is still not good at the moment and will be touch and go; Tyrone is starting to come good.”

3. Josh Mansour
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By ricky