Penrith Panthers vs Wests Tigers: Five things we learned

The Panthers remain undefeated at Panthers Stadium in 2018 after putting together a 16-2 win against the Wests Tigers.

  1. 1 Freddy, were you watching?

    While it's hard to know just how genuine the talk was, rumours began surfacing this week that Brad Fittler was leaning toward overlooking Penrith five-eighth James Maloney for Parramatta's Mitchell Moses when he names his first ever State of Origin side in a couple of weeks time.

    If Freddy was watching Thursday night football this week, then he must surely pick Maloney as one of his key playmakers when the Blues look to end more than a decade of dominance for the Maroons.

    Maloney was involved in plenty of Penrith's attacking play and took plenty of the creative control, allowing the returning Nathan Cleary to bed into the contest and begin his return to football with as little pressure as possible.

    He's been immense during Cleary's absence, and Maloney was again amongst the best on the park as the Panthers put on another clinical performance. If he's not wearing the blue jumper come game one, I'll be stunned.

  2. 2 Tigers valiant in defence

    Let's be honest, if it wasn't for a handful of last-gasp efforts and some big-time determination from the Tigers, the scoreline tonight could have been absolutely anything.

    As it was, the Panthers were good enough to grab the win and did so in fairly clinical fashion, but the entertainers could have racked up a big score had they been a little more ruthless inside the Tiger's 20m zone and had the Tiger's outside backs not pulled off some miraculous try-savers throughout the second half.

    Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, David Nofoaluma and Corey Thompson all came up with some big efforts to deny the rampant Panthers and they weren't alone as Ivan Cleary's men did everything they could to withstand an onslaught.

  3. 3 The Panthers are the real deal in 2018

    Despite a raft of injuries to key players, the Panthers have continued to chalk up wins in 2018 and they proved once again that they are right up there with the Dragons and Storm as one of the better sides in the competition as they put the Tigers to the sword on a chilly night at the foot of the mountains.

    There are still some out there in Panther-land who refuse to get behind Anthony Griffin but if this is the end-result of 'Griffin-ball' you can sign me up as a life member.

    The Panthers are breaking down everything in their path and have now not suffered defeat on home turf since last 2017 while managing 8 wins in the first 11 games of the season for just the fourth time in the club's history. On two of the previous three occasions they've managed that feat, they've won the competition.

    Phil Gould and John Lang stand as the only two premiership-winning coaches in Penrith history, but if things stay the way they are, Anthony Griffin is every chance of joining them.

  4. 4 Penalty-fest makes for stop-start footy

    The Panthers were absolutely hammered by the men with the whistles in the first half, copping a slew of penalties for indiscipline in the ruck and for not getting back the ten, even losing Trent Merrin for a ten-minute spell in the sin bin while the tables turned and the Tigers were on the wrong end of the whistles in the second stanza, losing Alex Twal for ten minutes as well.

    As the Panthers were being pinged, you felt the second half would bring a bit of a square-up and it did pretty much even out as such, but it sure made for an ugly spectacle with the footy being far too stop-start.

  5. 5 Penrith's pack is amongst the best in the league

    In a team consistently losing star players to injury, the big consistent for Penrith has been the go-forward generated by their big, hard-hitting forward pack.

    Trent Merrin and James Tamou have been the two experienced leaders of a forward pack that hunts in numbers, hits hard and runs harder, giving the benefit of their knowledge to young guns like Reagan Campbell-Gillard, James Fisher-Harris and the almost impossibly big Viliame Kikau.

    The Dragons have been touted most of the year as the best pack in the league, but with the Panthers pack performing at such a high level week in, week out, they're right in the conversation as the best in the league.

    What did you take away from Penrith's 16-2 win over the Tigers at Panthers Stadium? Let us know in the comments below.

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