Penrith have temporarily moved to the top of the NRL ladder and maintained their unbeaten record after shutting out the Warriors 26-0 at Campbelltown Stadium.
The Panthers made amends for blowing a double-digit lead against Newcastle last week to run in five tries tonight – including a Matt Burton double.
Burton, playing in just his third NRL game, also had a hand in another try as he bounced back from the disappointment of missing five field goals on the same ground against the Knights.
The rookie had plenty of help from his teammates, particularly tireless front-rower James Fisher-Harris, who finished with a game-high 239 metres.
He also added four offloads and 31 tackles with no misses to his stat line.
The victory lifted Penrith to the league’s pole position past Newcastle, Canberra and Parramatta, who the Panthers face in a local derby next week.
The Warriors, who have been forced to relocate indefinitely to Australia due to the coronavirus, are now 1-3 to start the season.
Signs were ominous for the Warriors even before the game began as they ran on to the wrong side of the field before kick-off. And their predicament only worsened the longer the first half went on, with the Panthers peppering right winger Patrick Herbert through the air.
That game plan resulted in the opening try for Burton, who latched onto a tap back from Stephen Crichton in the 11th minute.
He notched his second when he blocked and collected a kick by Warriors veteran Blake Green before racing 40m to score in the 22nd.
Penrith halfback Jarome Luai made it a three-try lead at the break when he grubbered for himself to touch down four minutes from halftime.
A Moses Leota line break then resulted in Josh Mansour crossing soon after resumption, before Burton put Billy Burns over in the 64th minute.
Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was easily his side’s best as the fullback racked up 179 run metres.
From next week, a small number of fans in corporate boxes will be allowed to attend games after the NRL tonight secured permission from the NSW Government to let spectators back.
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