Penrith Panthers five-eighth James Maloney

Dealing with the absence of Nathan Cleary, it was James Maloney who stood up when it mattered for the Penrith Panthers. 

Putting on a masterclass display that saw him score a try, kick goals for fun and seal the win with a field goal, it was the Maloney show.

Making the North Queensland Cowboys look slow and lethargic, Maloney steered the ship for Penrith from the outset.

In the end, the 33-14 was a convincing one for the Panthers as they outplayed the Cowboys in every facet of the game.

In a night with few highs for the Cowboys, the loss was made worse by injuries to both Javid Bowen and Jordan McLean.

Looking to turn their slow starts this season around, Penrith did so as a penalty goal and a try to Viliame Kikau put them up 8-0.

A freakish, lucky try then ensued, as ricochets, bobbles and good fortune saw Maloney nab a try of his own.

Penrith did well in defence to hold on at the back end of the first-half, after James Tamou was sent to the sin-bin.

They could hold out forever, though, as Kyle Feldt scored the first of his two tries in the corner.

But it was the Maloney show in this one, as a 40/20 and then further penalty goals gave Penrith a 20-4 lead.

As the sides exchanged further tries, Maloney put the icing on the cake with a calmly slotted field goal.

There was nothing but praise for Maloney from Penrith coach Anthony Griffin post-game.

“He was really good Jimmy; he really lifted, as everyone did, but in particular, I thought he controlled the game really well,” Griffin said.

“He’s an experienced play-maker and that’s why he’s been brought here, to give us that type of direction and I thought he did a really good job of that tonight.

“With Nathan [Cleary] not there… there it put a lot more work on his plate but it probably simplified it for him too where he could just get in and do most of the kicking and direct the play.”

Although the Cowboys now have just one loss from their opening four games, coach Paul Green says they may be down but they are not out.

“I wasn’t happy with it, but I saw a definite improvement in the areas I asked, you know it was four tries to three, two tries off kicks,” Green said.

“When things aren’t going your way it’s funny how the bounce of the ball doesn’t go your way, but I thought there was an improvement in those effort areas that I asked for tonight.

“I did see a reaction from our players in the areas that we said we wanted to improve in.”

Player of the Game:

3. James Maloney

2. Viliame Kikau

  1. Kyle Feldt

By ricky

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