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Penrith hand Knights 40-0 NRL hiding

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/03/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Penrith have shown why they were pre-season NRL favourites with a 40-0 thumping of a hapless Newcastle with rookie playmaker Te Maire Martin among a host of stars.

The Panthers ran in seven unanswered tries at Pepper Stadium on Friday night to post their biggest ever win over the Knights and temporarily jump from 11th to fourth on the ladder.

It was also the second time in three weeks they kept their opposition tryless.

Five-eighth Martin had his most enterprising outing since returning from a shoulder reconstruction, scoring one try and playing a hand in two more.

Veteran Peter Wallace put in a vintage performance at dummy-half, while Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Sitaleki Akauola were strong.

In front of a season-best 10,567 crowd for the NRL's controversial early Friday fixture, the Panthers enjoyed more than 60 per cent possession and almost double the plays inside the opposition 20m zone.

It certainly didn't look like a blowout in the opening 20 minutes, when a try to winger Watene-Zelezniak was all that separated the two sides.

However the Panthers turned on the afterburners with a run of three tries in 10 minutes instigated by rookie Corey Harawira-Naera and Martin.

Harawira-Naera scored his first career try, then Martin dummied his way over for his before the pair combined to put Tyrone Peachey over for a 22-0 halftime lead.

Wallace snuck an easy try from close range first up after the break followed by Dean Whare on the end of another Martin incision.

Halfback Nathan Cleary completed the rout with a converted try in the 78th minute for the Panthers to eclipse their club record 42-6 demolition of the Knights in their most recent meeting last year.

Knights duo Jacob Saifiti and Danny Levi both left the field with concussion but returned, while middle forward Mitchell Barnett came off late with injury.

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