Panthers run hot without Idris
The immediate future of Penrith centre Jamal Idris remains unclear after coach Ivan Cleary revealed he's not even thinking about when he gets his strike weapon back.
Less than 24 hours after the club stood down the former NSW star for "personal reasons", an Idris-less Panthers side easily disposed of neighbourhood rivals Parramatta 38-12 in front of a sellout crowd on Friday night.
But questions remain on the short-term future of Idris, who has reportedly receiving treatment for depression.
"We're not even talking about football with Jamal," Cleary said after the game.
Idris, 23, sensationally signed with Penrith in January after asking for a release from the Gold Coast Titans to be closer to his mother Alana in Sydney.
The ex-Bulldog had shown enough of his best football in his nine games with his new club to revive hopes of his stalled representative career but failed to return to training on time after the club's bye last weekend.
Cleary praised his team for not allowing Idris' latest off-field troubles distract them from the clash against the Eels.
"I've got to say, to the team's credit, they knuckled down to business and got on with the job and prepared really well," he said.
"As far as Jamal goes, that's not really a football issue. And I think in fairness to everybody, we need to give him his privacy and make sure that we as a club are absolutely committed to helping him any way we can."
While the Panthers were without one of their big-name players, a number of their younger talents took centre stage in what five-eighth Jamie Soward described earlier in the week as their "biggest game of the season so far."
Idris' replacement, Isaah Yeo, outplayed NSW squad member Will Hopoate and scored his first career try, while lock Tyrone Peachey bagged a double that included a supreme individual effort in the second half.
Even 19-year-old debutant Bryce Cartwright used the blowout to show off his array of offloading skills, continuing Penrith's rich history with the Cartwright name.
"Bryce Cartwright was good tonight, Isaah Yeo was excellent, it's only his first season as well," Cleary said.
"We play a team-style game and everyone is putting their hand up for that. But it's early days. Our job's still to be able to back them up each week."
On Peachey, Cleary added: "He's done well for us. Obviously he's just had sporadic appearances since last year at Cronulla so he's still learning how to play consistently in the NRL.
"He's had a few starts now as well, which is different to coming off the bench. Tonight he got a chance to show what he's really good at. There's no doubting his talent and game sense, it's probably just the consistent workrate and defensive stuff that he's still got to work on."
After failing to record back-to-back victories until Round 10, the Panthers have now won three in a row to sit equal second on the ladder ahead of next week's clash against the Gold Coast.
"There are a few things we were a little bit off in tonight attack-wise. But we were very controlled and we defended pretty well too," Cleary said.
"We do a lot of work on making sure that we play consistently and I reckon probably two games this year I haven't been happy with in that sense. We're getting there. There's a long way to go, but we're certainly showing some consistency, which helps."