Point 1: Newcastle are back to where they started
The Knights had started the season with a level of effort and trust that brought them their first win in almost a year. They were brave and fearless in driving the ball forward, and that gave them the confidence that led to the win. The way they played tonight, makes you wonder where this went, they were sloppy in attack and let the few opportunities they had die early in the tackle count with errors cruelling any chance for some points. Penrith played very well, but the Knights biggest problem was their own play.
Point 2: Are Penrith a true threat?
Penrith put the Knights to the sword. They had a pack that was dominant and the back line dazzled with the service from Martin and Cleary. They scored seven tries in a comfortable effort and their defence was obviously as close to perfect as the scoreboard allows. But if you look deeper into the numbers, you will see that both penalties and errors were very similar. However, when you look at tackles, the Knights had to complete 394 to 227. That is a serious amount of extra work by the Knights and helps explain the scoreline. Penrith made this game occur in this manner, but how will they go against the top teams?
Point 3: Who knew you could play the ball to yourself.
In a display of everything the Knights could do wrong in a game could be summed up by a single incident it occurred in the 64th minute. Fielding a kick behind his own try line, Nathan Ross broke through the Penrith line and sprinted 60 metres only to be hunted down by Te Maire Martin. He got to his feet and tried to exploit the disrupted Panthers defence with a quick play the ball that lay behind him, uncollected. Penrith swooped and the best opportunity of the half was diffused, however the commentary team informed all that any player can pick up a correctly played ball, once it had cleared the ruck. Ross stood and watched the turnover happen, when he should have dived on the ball, but probably incorrectly thought it would be penalised.
Point 4: Seven tries to seven players.
A worrying sign for the Panthers upcoming opponents will be how well they shared the scoring duties. I cannot remember the last time a team ran in seven tries without one of the try scorers registering a double or more. Admittedly Watene Zelezniak almost had a double before any other player bothered the scorers but for the remainder of the match, it was a lesson in sharing by the lads from the bottom of the mountain.
Penrith Panthers 40
Tries: 7 (Watene Zelezniak, Harawira-Naera, Martin, Peachey, Wallace, Whare, Cleary).
Goals: Cleary 6/8
Newcastle Knights: 0