Penrith became the second side on Friday to withstand a comeback as their young side held on for a 26-20 win over Cronulla Sharks.
Penrith dominated the opening half to lead 20-4 at the interval. Young debutant Matt Burton, one of three teenagers on debut, set up Brent Naden for the first try before Nathan Cleary broke down the middle, finding Dylan Edwards on his inside.
Wade Graham was able to get a try for the Sharks off Shaun Johnson’s pass but Cleary’s try in the shadows of half-time re-established the Panthers’ dominance.
Edwards added his second early on in the second half before Cronulla began a comeback with tries from Jack Williams and Josh Morris.
Sosaia Feki added a further try to make the Panthers sweat but they held on.
Panthers: Edwards, Mansour, Crichton, Naden, To’o, Burton, Cleary, Tamou, Kenny, Fisher-Harris, Kikau, Martin, Leota; Interchanges: Yeo, Katoa, Leniu, Campbell-Gillard
Tries: Naden, Edwards 2, Cleary; Goals: Cleary 5
Sharks: Dugan, Feki, Xerri, Morris, Mulitalo, Johnson, Townsend, Woods, J Brailey, Prior, Nikora, Graham, Gallen; Interchanges: Capewell, Williams, Fifita, Hamlin-Uele
Tries: Graham, Williams, Morris, Feki; Goals: Johnson 2
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.