Mid-season Warriors recruit Kodi Nikorima has helped pour more misery on the Penrith Panthers with a scintillating second half try to polish a dominant 30-10 win at Panthers Stadium.
Nikorima was at his roving best in his second appearance since shifting from Brisbane as the visitors piled on four converted tries and three penalty goals to leave the Panthers embarrassed on home turf and languishing at the bottom of the Telstra Premiership ladder.
Penrith had no answers for a composed Warriors outfit despite plenty of chances inside the opposition 20. The result sees Ivan Cleary's men slump to their sixth consecutive loss of the season and their longest losing streak since 2002.
Called in late for Nathaniel Roache, veteran Warriors hooker Issac Luke was dominant early to set up the victory until Nikorima and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck injected their speed around the ruck to deeply expose the Panthers' ongoing defensive woes.
Match: Panthers v Warriors
Round 10 -
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith
Luke made light work of the Panthers' defence with a sharp dart to score under the posts for a 6-0 lead after the Warriors were earlier forced to defend their line for five straight sets that came to no avail up the other end of the paddock.
The Warriors went back-to-back after first points with Nikorima splitting some lazy Penrith defence through the middle before Tuivasa-Sheck sent Patrick Herbert over with a deceptive in-and-away play on the right edge.
Further ill-discipline from the Panthers stretched the visitors' lead to 14 via a penalty goal after both edge wingers Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and debutant Brian To'o spilt the ball on tackle one.
The Panthers had multiple chances to strike before the break but failed to capitalise with a poorly timed pass from Dean Whare blowing one chance with a try gone begging, while Moses Leota was crunched in a Jazz Tevaga tackle to cough up the ball with the line open.
Nikorima shows and goes
A passage of play after the break summed up the Panthers' woes and frustrations with Watene-Zelezniak and Dylan Edwards involved in a huge collision attempting to both collect a long-range kick.
Edwards spilt the ball after he was smashed by his Panthers teammate and the Warriors extended to a 16-0 lead shortly after via another penalty goal.
The result was sealed for the Warriors with a quarter of the game remaining when Nikorima split Leota and Cleary on the left edge.
Another Warriors penalty goal extended the lead out to four converted tries and despite a late try to rookie Liam Martin – the first of his career – the visitors iced the game with a rampaging run from Agnatius Paasi carrying four defenders with him.
A consolation try to Viliame Kikau out of dummy half on the siren did little to please even the diehards, with another night of more questions than answers for the Panthers.
Paasi carries three Panthers over the line