Panthers continue hot Holden Cup start
The Panthers have made it five wins in a row in the Holden Cup with a comfortable 36-10 win over the Cowboys at Pepper Stadium.
In a clash between two of the best performing teams in the NYC, Penrith's star-studded spine shone bright to send last year's premiers to the top of the ladder alongside the Roosters.
Fullback Dylan Edwards added to his competition-leading 871 metres with three huge kick returns, while Nathan Cleary once again controlled the game forcing three line dropouts and scoring a double to extend his lead as the Holden Cup's leading points scorer.
The Panthers went agonisingly close in the early exchanges with Cowen Epere and Wayde Egan both held up over the line, before Edwards was disallowed a try for obstruction all within the first five minutes.
North Queensland took full advantage of the reprieves, opening the scoring shortly after against the run of play. Halfback Cooper Bambling hit his winger with a peach of a pass to send Marcus Jensen over in the corner.
Jensen looked to have scored his second for the evening after a lovely set move from the scrum, but the sideline official correctly raised his flag after the winger put a foot in touch.
It was a lead that would last just six minutes as Egan barrelled over from dummy-half to get the try he had been earlier denied.
From then on it quickly became the Ratu Tuisese show, with the Panthers left winger nabbing three tries in 20 minutes to effectively kill off the contest before half-time.
The first came in rather fortuitous circumstances, as Tuisese appeared to bounce a grubber from Jarome Luai, only for the officials to award the try.
A massive kick-return from Edwards put the Panthers on the front foot, and from the following play, a grubber from Corey Waddell set up Tuisese for his second.
Star No.7 Cleary forced a line dropout late in the half, and a minute before the siren, Tuisese completed his treble courtesy of a fantastic cut-out pass from Edwards.
It didn't take long for the hosts to extend their lead after the break. A terrific run by Robert Jennings earned his side a quick play the ball, and from the following ruck, Egan and Edwards combined to send Cleary over for a classy team try.
Tyrone May was the next to take advantage of an Edwards line break, scoring a simple try on the hour mark.
Jordan Kenworthy pegged one back for the Cowboys, before Cleary iced off a five star performance with a show-and-go five minutes from full-time.
The only negative in an otherwise stellar showing was Epere being sent to the sin bin for punching in the 65th minute.
Panthers 36 (Ratu Tuisese 3, Nathan Cleary 2, Wayde Egan, Tyrone May tries; Nathan Cleary 4 goals) defeated Cowboys 10 (Marcus Jensen, Jordan Kenworthy tries; Kalyn Ponga 1goal) at Pepper Stadium. Half-time: 18-4 Panthers. Sin bin: Cowan Epere (striking).