Panthers win 12th straight in Holden Cup
The Penrith Panthers have continued their incredible start to the Holden Cup season with a comfortable 32-8 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday night.
Even without a host of stars the Panthers were rarely troubled in conditions more suited to the Winter Olympics than rugby league.
With a huge gale at their backs, South Sydney took full advantage of back-to-back penalties to land the first blow with Tom Perrin finishing off a cheeky short side play on the last tackle to score in the corner.
A string of penalties gave the Rabbitohs plenty of chances to extend their lead, but it was the Panthers who would score next as Jarome Luai grubbered through for Caleb Aekins to level the scores.
It didn't take long for Luai to break the deadlock, the late inclusion at halfback doing it all himself with a dummy and big left-foot step to make it 10-4 after 26 minutes.
Luai then capped off a magical first half with another try assist six minutes before the break with NYC debutant Billy Burns charging onto a ball close to the line to celebrate his first game in style.
There was still time for the Panthers to add to their tally, and after earning his side a repeat set No.7 Wayde Egan dummied his way through close to the line to make it 20-4 at the break.
The second half started much the same as the first forty finished with bench forward Thomson Tuigimala fighting his way through three would-be defenders to barge over next to the sticks.
South Sydney managed to end the run of 26 straight Penrith points with a lovely bit of play down the right that saw back-rower Cameron Murray flick a ball to centre Campbell Graham to score in the corner.
Any thoughts of a comeback were put to bed quickly as Braidon Burns crossed for his 13th try of the season courtesy of a Luai bomb and some fast thinking from fullback Daniel Brown.
The win was slightly soured by the sin-binning of Cowen Epere 15 minutes from full-time but it mattered little as the Panthers held on to record their 12th straight win of 2016.
Panthers 32 (Caleb Aekins, Jarome Luai, Billy Burns, Wayde Egan, Thomson Tuigimala, Braidon Burns tries; Jarome Luai 4 goals) defeated Rabbitohs 8 (Tom Perrin, Campbell Graham tries) at Pepper Stadium. Half-time: 20-4 Panthers. Sin bin: Cowen Epere (punches).