28 May 2012

Panthers thrash Manly, Tigers beat Cowboys

6:09 am on 28 May 2012

Penrith thrashed the National Rugby League champions Manly 22-4 on Sunday for a win Panthers coach Ivan Cleary hailed as his side's best of the season.

Cleary claims his decision to strip Luke Lewis of the captaincy during the State of Origin period was the best thing for the team, with Kevin Kingston leading the side out at Centrebet Stadium.

But Cleary stresses the decision is not a permanent one and the plan is to re-instate the back-rower, who scored the fourth of his side's tries, after Origin three in Brisbane on July 4th.

Cleary says Origin is a long, tough time and his team needs some leadership growth.

The win was the Panthers' second in three games.

In Sunday's other game, Wests Tigers won their fifth in a row with a 26-18 victory over North Queensland.

The Cowboys' New Zealand-born New South Wales prop James Tamou was placed on report for dangerous contact with the Tigers' Kiwis star Benji Marshall after the playmaker had kicked early in the first half.

Manly's Kiwis international Steve Matai could also be in trouble after he was penalised for a high shot to the head of Penrith's Dan Galea, who had to leave the field.

The centre has a long record of similar offences and could face another spell on the sidelines.