Penrith dominated Manly from the outset in the heat of Brookvale Oval to comfortably defeat the Sea Eagles 50-12, with AFL convert Josh Hall having a day to remember scoring 22 points from two tries and seven goals.
Both sides came into this clash desperate to win their second game of the season but an error-riddled performance from Manly, compounded by the loss of former Panther Isaac John with a suspected pectorial injury late in the first half, enabled Penrith to return to form with a nine-tries-to-two performance.
Penrith were boosted by the late inclusion of the experienced NZ international forward Elijah Taylor, while Manly were forced into several late changes with Tim Moltzen and Luke Burgess called into the starting line-up.
A Manly error inside their own 20 gifted Penrith the first attacking opportunity of the game and it was taken with both hands when half Zach Dockar-Clay floated the pass out right to an unmarked centre Andrew Heffernan, who strolled over from close range to give Penrith a 4-nil lead after eight minutes.
Penrith scored a further two tries midway through the half to give them their 16-nil halftime.
An Isaac John high tackle on Hall that was placed on report enabled Penrith to score in the ensuing set when a Chris Smith offload allowed the fullback Sam Clune to score from close range before George Jennings pounced on a loose ball in the Manly in-goal three minutes later to score.
Penrith put Manly to sword in the second half, outscoring the home team six tries to two.
Chris Smith stormed through to score from close range in the 47th minute despite copping a trip from Daniel Vasek, which was placed on report.
Josh Hall then scored back-to-back tries in the 50th and 54th minutes to double Penrith’s lead. The winger showed off his aerial skills before reaching out to score before showing considerable speed to score a runaway 70 metre try.
The points kept piling up for Penrith when prop Moses Leota on the last tackle opted to got to the line before putting Zach Dockar-Clay over for a try and the Panthers lead 44-nil with over 10 minutes when five-eighth Matt Place scored a 25-metre intercept try.
Manly scored two late tries through Addin Fonua-Blake, with the hard-running prop rewarded for his non-stop efforts with a double but not before Penrith had managed to rack up the half-century when Place put Clune in for his second try of the afternoon.
Next Saturday, Manly will need to regroup quickly when they travel to Morrie Breen Oval to take on last year’s Grand Finalists Wyong, while Penrith take on last year’s premiers Newcastle in a clash that is likely to be played next Sunday at Hunter Stadium.
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