Panthers v Titans: Five key points
What we learned from the Panthers' 40-0 rout of the Gold Coast Titans in Bathurst on Saturday.
Panthers could have some issues around Origin time
For the first time in his tenure at Penrith, coach Ivan Cleary could have to deal with missing some key players during Origin time. Matt Moylan and James Segeyaro in particular will be in the frame for New South Wales and Queensland respectively should they hold onto the blistering form they've showed over the opening fortnight.
"Sounds like everyone now thinks we've got some players who can play," smirked Cleary after the win. "If that comes, that's a good problem because it means the boys are playing well for the Panthers and that's what we want them to do. But we've only played two games. It's a long, long way to go. We've got a huge game next week against the Roosters. We'll look at that for the moment."
Decision on suspended Titans expected early next week
Titans coach Neil Henry is hopeful of having his five suspended players, including key men David Taylor and Greg Bird, back training with the squad as soon as this week.
"It's a bit of a holding pattern with those guys. We're hopeful there'll be a resolution early in the week and a couple of players will be available, if not all five will be available for selection in NRL or Q-Cup," he said.
"I'm hopeful by Monday or Tuesday that will happen. The indications are that that's the case, that the information that the board were seeking from the Council has happened. We're just waiting for that decision and the boys can rejoin the playing group."
Fitting in Mansour will be problematic for Penrith
In the absence of Kangaroos winger Josh Mansour, Panthers rookie George Jennings has been impressive, scoring two tries and running 290 metres in two games on the left wing and ensuring Cleary some selection headaches when he names next week's line-up on Tuesday.
"We'll sit down and work it out. It's a long year so we'll see what happens. It's obviously a good thing to have, we've got a couple of other guys still to come back – Adam Docker, Nigel Plum – so yeah, the more competition the better, really," Cleary said.
The coach said Mansour was "a chance" of returning next week against the Roosters.
Idris in better shape than this time last year
While Moylan won Man of the Match honours, centre Jamal Idris struck form with a hat-trick against his old club. It was a vintage performance that earned him rave reviews from his coach. His three tries almost matched his total of four in his first season with the Panthers last year.
"He was terrific for us. Actually, he helped us today just by showing the way, just taking them on and running hard. Whenever Jamal does that, you're always pretty happy," Cleary said.
"It's good for him to get over the line a few times – he hasn't been doing that much for us recently. He's in pretty good shape, actually. He's moving better at this time of the year than he was last year. He's had his issues with back surgery, but the more he plays, the better he'll get."
Don't blame Titans halves
With a completion rate of just over 50 per cent – including a horrid three from 11 in the second half – Henry said the Titans' poor ball control limited any opportunity for his halves to mount any sort of pressure on the Penrith defence.
"We actually turned the ball over quite often early, before they had a chance to play," he said.
"We made some errors on plays one and two. You're getting tackled into touch after getting the ball out of the in-goal, turning over on taps or whatever – it happened a couple of times. So we haven't even got part of the set to play with.
"I don't think you can blame the halves. I think we all put our hands up out there to say we need to be a bit better – across the coaching staff, right through to the players. Let's keep building, put that behind us and move forward to next week."