The Panthers outplayed the Sharks in the opening weekend of the Holden Cup finals series.

They've been the dominant side in the Holden Cup this season and the Penrith Panthers started their finals campaign strongly, thumping the Sharks 28-6 at Allianz Stadium.

Sharks captain Jayden Bailey opened the scoring for Cronulla, diving over from dummy-half after seven minutes.

Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards came close to pegging one bag for his team five minutes later only to lose possession in the Sharks' in-goal.

But Penrith levelled the scores midway through the first half when Dean Blore broke clear to score.

The Sharks had a try denied after half an hour when Joshua Tuilagi appeared to have crossed in the corner, with a successful Captain's Challenge from the Panthers resulting in the on-field try decision being overturned.

The teams went into the break level at 6-all but Penrith quickly took control in the second term, with Reed Izzard scoring after a Sharks error from a kick.

There was a sense of deja vu with the Panthers' next try with another kick spilled by the Sharks, with Izzard this time laying on a try for Daniel Brown.

When Wayde Egan darted out of dummy-half and fooled the defence with a dummy the Panthers led 20-6, and when winger Ratu Tuisese scored the Panthers had secured their place in the preliminary finals in a fortnight's time.

A spectacular 90-metre team Panthers try in the final moments completed the rout, with Braidon Burns collecting a Dylan Edwards kick to score.

The Sharks will be battling to keep their season alive against the Roosters next Saturday.