Panthers V Bears - VB NSW Cup Rd 22

By Lars Roy at Sportingbet Stadium

Despite a promising start by the visitors, competition leaders Penrith have toppled last placed North Sydney 68-12 at Sportingbet Stadium.

The Panthers opened the scoring in the third minute of play through Wes Naiqama, who found himself over in the right hand corner after a brilliant catch and flick pass by Eddie Aiono.

The Bears responded with two tries of their own, both on the back of Panthers mistakes. 

The first in the 9th minute by hooker, Matt Hyland, who burrowed over close to the line and then in the 16th minute through Chris Grevsmuhl.

From there it was all the Panthers who scored 64 points in as many minutes. 

Luke Capewell added to the score sheet in the 24th minute through good support play on the back of a Ryan Simpkins bust.

He grabbed his second only six minutes later, with simple support play again proving effective, regaining the lead for the Panthers with the score at 16-12.

The Panthers crossed over for two quick tries before the break, firstly to Tom Eisenhuth and then through Kieran Moss, with the second coming in the set after points.

Both tries were converted by Tom Humble, which blew out their lead to 16 points, with the half time score at 28-12.

Penrith started the second half how they finished the first, scoring three tries in five minutes through Leilani Latu, Luke Capewell and Eto Nabuli.

Humble converted two of the three tries, boosting the Penrith lead to past five converted tries and shattering any hopes of a Bears comeback, with only 25 minutes remaining.

Kevin Naiqama scored the easiest try of the afternoon after scooping up a Bears dropped ball from a 20 metre restart.

Humble again converted bringing up the half century for the Panthers and summing up North Sydney’s season.

The Panthers weren’t finished yet, scoring three tries in the last 10 minutes firstly to Nathan Smith who pounched on a Tom Eisenhuth grubber.

On the back of a terrorising run on the Panthers left edge from Ben Murdoch-Masila, Eto Nabuli brought up his double and 15th try of the season after out pacing his opposing winger.

Nabuli returned the favour to Murdoch-Masila in the 80th minute, flinging the ball back on the inside to cap off another big Penrith victory.

The extras were added by Nabuli this time, leaving the final score at 68-12. 

This week North Sydney will travel to GIO Stadium in Canberra to take on second placed Mounties while Penrith will have time to recover with the bye.

Penrith Panthers 68 (L Capewell 3, E Nabuli 2, K Moss, W Naiqama, K Naiqama, B Murdoch Masila, N Smith, T Eisenhuth, L Latu tries; T Humble 9, E Nabuli goals) def. North Sydney Bears 12 (M Hyland, C Grevsmuhl tries; K Aldridge 2 goals) at Sportingbet Stadium.

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