Cronulla Sharks for a second consecutive week have kept their opposition try-less in downing Penrith Panthers 28-2 at Pepper Stadium on Sunday.
MALONEY AND TOWNSEND OWN PANTHERS ROOKIES
It was a masterclass exhibition from James Maloney and Chad Townsend as they showed rookie Panthers halves Te Maire Martin and Nathan Cleary how to direct and execute a game plan.
The experience showed with the Sharks halves pairing totaling 284 games working over the Panthers whether it was with running precise plays or rolling the ball in-goal to force a repeat set.
With 34 games between them, Cleary and Martin were out of their depth as the kicking game and general play options were poor.
The good news for Panther fans is that the young halves pairing are worth holding onto because they will get better with every game they play.
COULD A 25 YEAR RECORD BE BROKEN?
1992 was the last year a team went back to back with Brisbane’s second consecutive defeat of St George Dragons in the Grand Final.
Based on the wins against Grand Final rivals Melbourne Storm and top 4 ‘hopefuls’ Penrith Panthers, that 25 year record might get broken.
They have the package with classy backs and halves, solid forward pack and a very good interchange bench.
A rematch against Melbourne Storm might just be on the cards even as we enter the second-third of the season.
PENRITH ‘TOP 4’ CHANCES OVER
It seems there’s been too much expectation on Penrith Panthers to make the top 4.
At this stage they are unable to compete with the top four hopefuls. The lack of cohesion on display against Melbourne was again showing against the Sharks.
The secret might lay in going back to basics. Possession, solid kicking game plan and simple direct football.
Most importantly it seems the players aren’t having fun out on the footy field.
Once we see that enthusiasm return the Panthers will be a team to watch but right now it seems a long way off.
ISAAH YEO CONTINUES TRANSFORMATION
Despite his side receiving a toweling, Isaah Yeo continues to show up some of the higher paid forwards with consistent performances.
Another solid performance in making 25 tackles, gaining 123 metres in thirteen runs. The only Panther player to crack the century in metres made.
If there could be one criticism, Yeo needs to get his hands on the ball more often.
The maturity in his game will see him one of the first selected for Country when they take on City in the last annual match over the rep weekend.
Cronulla Sharks 28
Tries: James Maloney, Sosaia Feki, Jack Bird, Paul Gallen, Andrew Fifita
Goals: James Maloney 4
Penrith Panthers 2
Goal: Nathan Cleary 1