Pink Panthers thrash Manly - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pink Panthers thrash Manly

By David Beniuk 26/06/2010 11:38:34 AM Comments (0)

Brilliant centre Michael Jennings scored a hat-trick and had a hand in two more Penrith tries to scream out his credentials to NSW selectors as his side thrashed Manly 40-22 on Friday night.

Controversially overlooked for the Blues' first two State of Origin losses, Jennings' attacking genius was there for all four selectors to see as the Panthers ran as hot as the pink jerseys they were auctioning for charity after the CUA Stadium match.

The 22-year-old has been left to wonder what was in selectors' heads since his strange inclusion on the wing for the City Origin side last month.

But he almost certainly played himself back into a blue jersey for the dead rubber against Queensland at ANZ Stadium on July 7 with a man-of-the-match display.

Jennings' night began with a classy offload in traffic for Brad Tighe's fifth-minute try before he was on hand to back up a pass from a rampaging Frank Pritchard which led to a Trent Waterhouse four-pointer in the 19th minute.

He clapped on the accelerator before throwing a deft dummy to split two Sea Eagles defenders in the 26th and grabbed a second half intercept to seal the deal for the Panthers.

But he saved the best for last, creating then finishing his third with a great step and superb hands.

Panthers lock Luke Lewis, who missed Origin II with suspension, will be among the first picked for the Blues after a superb all-round game as the home side racked up seven tries to Manly's four in front of 14,978 fans.

Penrith backed up last week's impressive away win over Brisbane to quieten those doubting their lofty position on the ladder and have now won five of their last six games.

They led 24-6 at halftime after both sides had come up with 100 per cent completions in the first half, Manly far from poor and even leading 6-4 after a 13th minute Kieran Foran try.

But a brilliant 70-metre effort finished by winger Michael Gordon late in the first half proved in was Penrith's night, the ball skipping through at least eight sets of hands as the Panthers kept it alive.

In another boost for Penrith, captain Petero Civoniceva made a successful return from the broken hand he suffered in Origin I.

Winger Tony Williams bagged a double for Manly, who have now lost three of their last four and could also have lost lock Glenn Stewart for some time after he was assisted from the field late with an ankle injury.

Panthers coach Matt Elliott has been exasperated at Jennings being overlooked by Blues selectors.

"I think I've made enough comment on that," he said.

"I understand the question but press play every time I've been asked the question.

"I've been over the moon with him.

"He needed that (first) 50-metre try for himself. To get a hat-trick and but also put another one on, I was really happy for him."

Asked if he was sick of the constant Origin talk, Jennings laughed: "No, not me.

"It is good timing but I'll see how it goes," he said.

"Origin wasn't in my mind, just doing my job for the boys was my main priority this week."

But he agreed with his coach that he needed to stretch his legs.

"I needed to get into space, I haven't been in space and I haven't really broken the line in a couple of games," he said.

Civoniceva said Queensland would be pleased with Jennings' non-selection.

"(He's) something special. He can't do any more," the Penrith skipper said.

"I think the evidence was there out on the field, so it's now in the selectors' hands."

Manly coach Des Hasler couldn't hide his disappointment.

"They just out-competed us ... it has been a long time since we had 40 points put on us," he said.

"No matter how you disguise it, 40 points isn't good."

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