Penrith veteran David Simmons bagged four tries as centre Dean Whare took full advantage of some brittle Wests Tigers left-side defence, the Panthers romping to a 35-12 NRL win at Leichhardt Oval.
An ordinary day for the Tigers then appeared to get a lot worse with the post-game news that skipper Robbie Farah may have a fractured hand, putting him in doubt for State of Origin III.
The NSW rake, already playing with a busted shoulder, copped the injury in the second half but played out most of the match before heading to hospital for x-rays.
Teammate Tim Simona didn’t get that far.
The Tigers centre succumbed to an ankle injury in the first half, his departure leaving the home side brutally exposed in defence.
Whare carved up Simona’s hapless replacement Kyle Lovett, who could only watch on as the Panther took the rookie to school with a series of scorching runs, three of which leading to Simmons scoring.
When Simmons completed his hat trick in the 62nd minute, Tigers coach Jason Taylor finally adjusted by switching the experienced Chris Lawrence to the three-quarter line.
But the damage had been done.
Simmons then nabbed his fourth on the stroke of fulltime.
A defiant Taylor said there were deeper issues than simply pinning the blame on Lovett.
“We talked about moving (Lawrence) there quite early, pretty much as soon as it happened,” he said.
“And I know you guys will write that was where the game was won and lost but it wasn’t.
“The issue for us is the last try probably was the example of how the game went and how our attitude was compared to theirs.”
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary praised the evergreen Simmons, whose four tries took him past the century-mark for his career and helped the side snap a three-game losing streak.
“No one scores four tries very often,” Cleary said.
“But the 100-try thing, I don’t know how many people have done it, but not too many.
“Dave’s fairly unheralded to the rest of the bunch. To do that is a massive achievement.
“But he’s a guy who gets the absolute best out of himself. He’s a consummate professional. Does everything he can, he’s a great team guy.
“If anyone deserves it, Dave does.”