Sydney Roosters have capitalised on a first half shutout of Penrith to record a 24-4 win and consolidate their spot in the top four on Saturday night.
For the second time this year, centre Blake Ferguson tore up the Panthers’ left edge, having a hand in two tries and he should’ve had one himself.
After bagging a double in a 20-12 win in March, the former bad boy – together with wing partner Shaun Kenny-Dowall – took full advantage of a forward pack that exposed a frail Panthers middle with unerring ease.
NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce bounced back from the Blues’ pummelling in Brisbane with a strong outing.
The visitors added a try to their 2-0 lead when Kenny-Dowall finished a long-range effort that included Ferguson bumping off two defenders in the 20th minute.
With four regular first-graders still on the sideline, a game Panthers outfit stayed with the dominant Roosters to cop a 6-0 deficit at halftime.
But the Roosters duo combined again after the break when a soaring Ferguson tapped back a James Maloney kick for his in-form teammate.
Eight minutes later Roger Tuivasa-Sheck spun the lead to 18 with a solo effort.
There was faint hope of a comeback when makeshift winger Lewis Brown – filling in after David Simmons limped off with a bad back in the first half – stormed onto a Dean Whare inside pass in the 71st minute.
But Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves sealed the win with a barnstorming run in the 75th.