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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 considered premiership material in the pre-season with a seven-try 40-0 shutout of a hapless Newcastle.

Promising five-eighth Te Maire Martin enjoyed his most enterprising outing since his return from major shoulder surgery in the Friday night rout, the Panthers biggest ever win over the Knights.

It was also the second time in three weeks they kept their opposition tryless, bumping up their points differential and temporarily jumping from 11th to fourth on the NRL ladder.

"Penrith aren't the premiership favourites for no reason. They got us today when they were far more committed," Knights coach Nathan Brown lamented.

Martin scored one try and was involved in two more, while veteran Peter Wallace put in a vintage performance at dummy-half that had commentators talking a State of Origin recall.

In front of a season-best 10,567 crowd for the NRL's controversial early Friday fixture, Penrith enjoyed more than 60 per cent possession and almost double the plays in good-ball position.

Penrith coach Anthony Griffin was pleased with the way his men bounced back following their dramatic two-point loss to ladder leaders the Sydney Roosters last week.

"You always love to see a zero scoreline, it's not easy to do at this level," he said.

"Newcastle, they're a very good side. They come into this game second in line breaks, they've scored 20 points a game, I thought we were a lot more effective in attack tonight," he said.

"We put out a lot of energy last week and come up with nothing on the scoreboard, so it was important we bounce back tonight and we did."

It certainly didn't look like a blowout was on the cards in the opening 20 minutes, when a try to winger Watene-Zelezniak was all that separated the 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 four-pointer from close range first up after the break followed by Dean Whare on the end of another Martin incision.

Halfback Nathan Cleary crossed to complete the rout 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.

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