The Penrith Panthers romped to NRL State Championship glory to deny a fairytale result for the PNG Hunters.
The NSW champions were unfazed about the history of the side from Papua New Guinea making the grand final after taking out the Queensland Cup, running away with a 42-18 win.
Panthers 21-year-old second-rower Kaide Ellis was man of the match and said it was a great feeling after a great season.
“The first time was good but the second time within two weeks was even better,” Ellis said.
“We worked hard last week and it paid off this week as well so I couldn’t be more proud of the boys.”
It was a consummate performance by the Panthers with the match was almost over before it began.
The Hunters were the first on the board with an early penalty goal after Penrith were punished for early ill-discipline.
From then, it was all Panthers, with centre Tony Satini scoring four tries in the first half, including a hat-trick inside the first 15 minutes.
The side took a 38-2 lead into the break and extended it to 42-2 when Maika Sivo scored his 14th try in 13 games in the Intrust Super Premiership since he joined the side from the St Marys Ron Massey Cup team earlier this season.
Ellis said the Panthers knew the forwards would have to lay the platform.
“We know they’re a physical pack and they’re very passionate so we knew it was going to be a physical game,” he said.
“I had to do plenty of homework during the week to work out how I was going to get around that and I just tried to get it over them and not let them get it over me.”
With time running out and the Panthers holding a comfortable lead, the Hunters were allowed to show the skills that had brought the side to the state final, pegging back three consolation tries to make it a respectable scoreline.
The Panthers qualified for the match after downing the Intrust Super Premiership NSW minor premiers the Wyong Roos 20-12 in the state grand final last week.