Wests Tigers have been defeated 40-10 by the Penrith Panthers tonight in a disappointing outing at Pepper Stadium.
The Panthers raced out to a 28-4 lead at half-time, with Wests Tigers unable to stop a flurry of tries from the home side in a 40-point run of unanswered points.
It was a fast start for Wests Tigers, with Luke Brooks forcing a repeat set from their very first opportunity with the ball, as winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak dropped a cross-field bomb.
With the team opting to run the football instead of take the two points from a penalty, Elijah Taylor made an uncustomary error with tackles to spare to let Penrith off the hook.
On their next opportunity with the ball, Wests Tigers continued their quick start with the skipper Aaron Woods putting Mitch Moses through a gap on the halfway, with in-form five-eighth showing great vision to find Josh Addo-Carr who went over in the corner.
Moses was unable to covert the try from the sideline, however Wests Tigers held a 4-0 advantage after just six minutes of play.
The Panthers found their way onto the scoreboard very much against the run of play, with Watene-Zeleniak making a break from a kick return, running nearly the length of the field before finding his centre Waqa Blake back on the inside.
Nathan Cleary put his side in front with the easy conversion, making it 6-4 after just 12 minutes.
With the Panthers handed a contentious overruling on a knock-on by the NRL Bunker, they went back on the attack and quickly caught the defenders napping in the middle with Bryce Cartwright running an unders line to crash over.
Cleary made the easy conversion to take Penrith’s lead out to 12-4 after 18 minutes of play.
The Panthers continued to roll through the Wests Tigers defence, with second rower Isaah Yeo fending his way through on the left edge to score in the 23rd minute.
The conversion from Cleary was waved away, however the Panthers held a commanding 16-4 advantage after just 24 minutes.
Reagan Campbell-Gillard was next to cross for the Panthers, hitting an inside ball at speed and crashing through three defenders to get over the line in 28th minute.
Cleary added the extras as the Panthers flew out to a 22-4 lead after just 29 minutes.
With another contentious call going against Wests Tigers, Penrith were awarded a penalty inside their half just three minutes before the break, allowing Peter Wallace to take advantage of a quick play-the-ball and score under the posts.
Cleary made it a 28-4 scoreline at the half-time break, with the Panthers running in five unanswered tries.
Two chances just after the half-time break went begging for Wests Tigers, most notably when Moses stepped his way through and threw a cut-out pass that ended up in the hands of a Panthers defender.
Penrith matched their way back up the field due to an error from Rankin, with Trent Merrin capitalising on a second-man play close to the line to score next to the posts.
Cleary added the extras to take his side’s lead out to 34-4 after 49 minutes.
James Fisher-Harris crossed for the Panthers in the 56th minute, holding on to a flat pass from Cleary on the line, with the rookie halfback adding the extras to make it a 40-4 lead.
Moses showed his class in the 63rd minute, taking advantage of some second-phase play to finally break the run of Panthers tries and score.
The playmaker quickly slotted the conversion, narrowing the Panthers lead to 40-10 with 16 minutes to go in the match.
Rankin was denied a try in the 67th minute by the NRL Bunker, with the ruling of no try on ground standing despite what looked to be a four-pointer.
Wests Tigers fought hard in the closing stages of the match, however weren’t able to cross for another try with the game finishing at 40-10 in favour of the Panthers.
Penrith Panthers 40 (Blake, Cartwright, Yeo, Campbell-Gillard, Wallace, Merrin, Fisher-Harris tries; Cleary 6/7 goals) defeated Wests Tigers 10 (Addo-Carr, Moses tries; Moses 1/2 goals)