Sharks smash the Panthers 44-12 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks smash the Panthers 44-12

Joe Barton 26/03/2011 10:31:31 PM Comments (0)

Penrith coach Matt Elliott again accepted full responsibility for the Panthers' misfiring start to the season on Saturday night after the club's dismal showing in a 44-12 loss to Cronulla.

Two weeks after taking the blame for the Panthers' miserable round one loss to Newcastle, Elliott again heaped the heavy defeat onto his own shoulders after his players were booed from the field by a small crowd of 9,275.

But he found an ally in captain Petero Civoniceva, who said the players had to stand up for their coach.

"Matty, the coach that he is and the mate that he is to the playing group, he'll always shoulder the blame for us," said Civoniceva, who finished the match on report for a high shot on Sharks halfback Wade Graham.

"But at the end of the day I've got 17 boys in there that take full responsibility for what happened today.

"The coaching staff can only do so much for us and geez we let ourselves down again.

"... Right from the get go they were at a different speed and our speed wasn't good enough and they got a jump.

"In those situations your pace has got to be exactly the same as theirs and that was our downfall right from the beginning."

Cronulla crossed through captain Paul Gallen in the 4th minute, before Penrith levelled the scores less than 10 minutes later through winger David Simmons.

But a quick double to livewire five-eighth Albert Kelly opened the floodgates for the visitors, who piled on 30 unanswered points through tries to Nathan Gardner, Colin Best, Jonathan Mannah and Jeremy Smith.

Gallen said he knew from the opening minutes that a rout was on.

"Penrith were pretty ordinary tonight ... I thought that they were off a little bit. I just felt that they weren't up to it," he said.

Elliott admitted his team had been completely outplayed on the night, but had few explanations for how it had happened.

"I really need to have look at the way we practice, for sure," he said.

"I don't know what else to do, I don't have any doubt about my capabilities of getting this team ready, at all, none."

Timana Tahu had an unfortunate debut for the Panthers, giving away a penalty with his first touch of the ball, but Elliott said he did not regret rushing the troubled centre into the starting line-up.

"That's not the reason at all (that we lost) ... certainly there were some plays there that he would've preferred not to make, but he had friends," he explained.

Penrith's dismal night was compounded with injuries to halfback Luke Walsh (shoulder) and Luke Lewis (wrist).

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