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Penrith coach Ivan Cleary didn't hesitate when he described his side's 32-16 spanking to Parramatta as their worst performance of the season. 

"We've had some good signs and tonight was a disappointment. It was by far our worst game. So yeah, it's about bouncing back [next week]."

The Panthers headed into the game as favourites after an impressive opening three weeks but were quickly taught a lesson by a side Cleary said "wanted it a little bit more than us".

"It's not effort. But it was just... we've had three big weeks and this week, maybe we just weren't quite ready to have another one," he said. 

"I actually thought we were probably on top in the first half for a lot of the time, but execution let us down a bit.

"Then I don't know, we hit the front in the second half and they were too good. They had the edge in just lots of little things tonight. I think they wanted it a little bit more than us."

The third-year mentor refused to use the excuse of co-captain Peter Wallace again being a game-day exclusion due to a nagging groin injury, instead bemoaning the fact that his side were simply "off the pace".

"It's not ideal, but that's no excuse. We had the same guys as last week, so it was just one of those nights where we were just off the pace in lots of things. Execution, little close in lots of stuff, [but] close wasn't close enough," he said. 

Added fill-in halfback Isaac John: "We just didn't turn up with the right attitude and I think it showed in the tries they scored. It's something that hasn't been part of our game this year. Just glad it happened early on in the season so we can try and fix it." 

Cleary hoped to have his halfback available for next week's clash against the Raiders. 

"He wasn't far off [tonight]. The fact that he injured himself about a week ago, the day before the last game, meant that there's two games [he's missed]," he said.

"Hopefully he'll be right. It's just a bit of an annoying thing, but it's only a week ago. Hopefully we can sort that one out."

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