Impatient Panthers frustrated
Lack of respect for the football in key stages contributed to the Panthers' lacklustre attack in the side's 28-2 loss to the Sharks according to Penrith coach Anthony Griffin.
The Panthers were held tryless for the first time since 2015 and were guilty of turning the ball over inside the Sharks' 20-metre zone early in the tackle count on several occasions.
Griffin admitted the Sharks defence was too strong and applied the pressure when it mattered most to rattle the Panthers' attacking structures.
"I thought they (Cronulla) did [frustrate us], we fell behind on the scoreboard and we attacked based on what the scoreboard was saying rather than settling down and trying to build some pressure," Griffin said after the match.
"They are a very good defensive side but clearly our attack was nowhere near what it needed to be patience-wise or more direction-wise.
"It wasn’t our best day… the first 30 minutes was a good arm wrestle but that try just before halftime made it hard. Second half they held well under pressure at times but they were too good."
After four games at Pepper Stadium the Panthers have only managed to send their fans home happy on the one occasion with their Round 4 victory against the Knights.
Panther fans should be used to it though after the side dropped three of four games at the beginning of the 2016 season before finishing strongly to charge into the finals in the second half of the year.
Despite the results, Griffin didn’t think the side deserved a two wins and five-loss record to open the year.
"I think we’ve been a bit better at times. There’s probably one or two like last week or the Roosters game where we learn how to close that out or we get those games, you feel a bit better about yourself," he said.
"But the opposition today they’re the premiers for a reason. They were very ruthless, they were very clinical and they did a job on us [although] we helped them a fair bit with losing our composure."
Frustration was the first word used by Matt Moylan to describe the game, before the 25-year-old was forced to open up on the off-field drama at the Panthers involving himself and the captaincy in recent weeks.
"It was very tight at the start then we sort of let it slip especially that second half," Moylan said.
"[The captaincy is] a role I want to do and it’s a honour to captain a club like this so nothing’s changed.
"Obviously it was a mistake by us, we missed out on an opportunity and we owe our teammates for what we did last week and we’ve got to repay them for the rest of the year."
Griffin has thrown his support behind Moylan as the Panthers leader in recent weeks and again reiterated there was no change to that sentiment despite Moylan being visibly down on confidence and under media scrutiny.
"The last couple of weeks has seen a tough period for everybody at the club, but Matt is the captain and that’s not going to change from our end," Griffin said.
"We’ll help him develop and he’s shown a lot of strength and character over the last couple of years. I want him to be in that role."