NRL Round 24 – Match 1 Results: Penrith Panthers 54 v 18 South Sydney Rabbitohs

On Friday night the Panthers enjoyed a huge home game victory securing their spot in the top four when they smashed the Rabbitohs 54 – 18 at CUA Stadium.

Souths were left shell-shocked after the opening quarter as Penrith got off to a flying start scoring 22 points in 20 minutes and after trailing 40 – nil by halftime, the ill-fated Bunnies just couldn’t make up the deficit.

Following the big loss, South Sydney dropped down to 10th on the ladder and were forced to say goodbye to their finals hopes.

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The home side began their assault just three minutes in when Sam McKendry opened their account with their first of eventual nine tries.

McKendry was followed five minutes later by Sandor Earl and then a fast double by Travis Burns with tries in the 10th and 20th minutes.

Michael Gordon, slotting into the position of fullback nicely while replacing the injured Lachlan Coote (groin), converted three of their first four tries and they were up 22 – nil.

But the first half shocker wasn’t over for Souths yet with the Panthers scoring another three unanswered tries before the break.

In the 22nd minute Earl made it a match double, then Gordon scored his first of an eventual hat-trick in the 34th minute before Masada Iosefa got one in two minutes from halftime.

Again, Gordon was brilliant on the boot and kicked three from three so they matched the record halftime lead of the season going to the sheds 40 points in front of a still scoreless Souths.

Back in the second half the Rabbitohs were eventually able to post some points with three tries in just five minutes, but it did little to dent the damage Penrith had cause in the first 40.

Before Souths could get on the board, however, Gordon scored his second in the 53rd minute and converted his own try to push the Panthers up 46 – nil.

Finally Luke Capewell opened the Bunnies account in the 58th minute. His try was followed by a Rhys Wesser four-pointer in the 61st minute and then having found some momentum they scored their third and final through Dylan Farrell two minutes later.

Chris Sandow booted all three through the sticks to bring the score in 46 – 18.

In the 70th minute the Panthers got a penalty and then in the final minute of play Gordon iced the cake with the Panthers’ ninth try of the night, the kick boosting them up to 54 with Gordon’s personal haul sitting at a club record of 30 points.

With the victory Penrith proved they are the real deal finally showing their versatility by not just relying on kicks to score.

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