The Panthers skipped two games clear at the top of the ladder with a clinical 32-12 win over the Roosters at the SCG on Saturday night.
The premiers have lost just one game all season and have given themselves some breathing space as they head towards the Origin period when their depth will be tested.
The Roosters had the first chance to post points in the seventh minute but Joseph Suaalii was denied by superb cover defence from Taylan May and Dylan Edwards.
Penrith got across the line in the 25th minute but Izack Tago was held up by James Tedesco as both defences stood tall.
Suaalii made a statement soon after when he stopped Viliame Kikau in his tracks with a huge shot but it was the Panthers who struck the first blow on the scoreboard when Jarome Luai finished off the lead-up work of Isaah Yeo and Scott Sorensen.
Come the 33rd minute and Luai made it a double when he cut hard off the left foot to slice the Roosters open from close range and Nathan Cleary's conversion made it 12-0.
Luai finally gets the first try of the game
The Panthers struck a big blow in the shadows of half-time when Api Koroisau scored from dummy half after feigning to pass to Cleary for a field goal and instead going himself.
A fourth Panthers try looked to be coming early in the second half when Tago got clear on the left wing and kicked back inside for Edwards who had a clear run to the line had he scooped up the ball but he spilled it.
The Roosters looked threatening on a couple of occasions but it was the Panthers who kicked away to 24-0 after Stephen Crichton pulled down a Luke Keary bomb and went the distance for his fourth try in four games.
Suaalii sends shockwaves through Kikau
Skipper Tedesco was the man to get the Roosters on the board in the 62nd minute with a trademark try from close range to get the margin back to 18.
When James Fisher-Harris powered over for the 10th try of his carer in the 69th minute it put the result beyond doubt.
To make matters worse for the Roosters, prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves clipped Fisher-Harris high as he crossed the line and was put on report and then sin binned for disputing the decision with referee Gerard Sutton.
An eight-point try was awarded and Cleary knocked over both kicks to make it 32-6.
With Tedesco continuing to drive his team forward and Angus Crichton making big metres, the Roosters fought the game out right to the end and came up with a consolation try through Paul Momirovski with two minutes to play.
Crichton finished the night with 148 running metres and Tedesco 204 but in the end the Panthers had too many weapons across the park.
Defence into attack in a blink of an eye
- Jarome Luai's only other try double came in the second game of his career, against the Warriors in round 17, 2018.
- The Panthers' back five of Dylan Edwards, Taylan May, Brian To'o, Stephen Crichton and Izack Tago racked up 883 running metres between them.
- Young Rooster Terrell May entered the field of play in the 56th minute for his NRL debut and immediately made an impact with a 17-metre gain on his first run.
- The Roosters have won only two of their past six games at the SCG.
Match: Roosters v Panthers
Round 11 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
- James Tedesco has scored six tries in his past four matches.
- The Panthers won their first game at the SCG since a 10-7 win over Manly in a play-off for fifth spot in the 1985 NSWRL premiership.
- Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was put on report or a high shot on James Fisher-Harris in the 69th minute and was then sin binned after arguing with referee Gerard Sutton.
- Viliame Kikau was placed on report after making contact with the legs of Luke Keary after the Roosters playmaker had put in a kick.
Play of the Game
With the Panthers up 12-0 in the 40th minute and Nathan Cleary setting for a field goal to give his team a 13-point lead, Api Koroisau fooled everyone when he darted out of dummy half for his second try of the season. After a tight battle for the first half hour it was the premiers who slipped into overdrive with a Jarome Luai double topped off by Koroisau's piece of deception.
Koroisau extends Panthers lead
What They Said
"I thought it was a really strong, committed, professional performance. The Roosters are a really strong defensive unit when they've got control and they can number up well, but we started to get a bit of fatigue and if you can start to punch a couple of holes in them and there line starts to get a bit staggered it gives you the opportunity to execute which we did tonight. Jarome is the kind of guy when you do have that little bit of dominance he becomes most dangerous and he's starting to feel when to take that on and that's definitely a win." - Panthers coach Ivan Cleary
Panthers: Round 11
"The cracks don't have to be big for a team like Penrith to take the opportunities and we need to shut them down. If we're going to be team that we want to be that needs to be nil-all at half-time or 6-all at half-time and just 'come on' and so we need to learn really quickly so that was a good lesson, whether you're disappointed or whatever it is, we need to pick that up." - Roosters coach Trent Robinson
Roosters: Round 11
The Roosters head across town to Shark Park to face Cronulla on Saturday night. The two sides met just once in 2021, the Roosters prevailing 26-18 at the Sydney Cricket Ground with Daniel Tupou running for 237 metres and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 219 metres in 44 minutes of game time.
The Panthers have a six-day turnaround before a Friday night blockbuster against the third-placed Cowboys at BlueBet Stadium.