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It was a hard day at the office for the nib Newcastle Knights as they succumbed to a 40-0 loss to the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium on Friday evening.

The Knights made a number of forced changes before kick off, which included the debut of Joe Wardle.

The Panthers started the show with a flick pass to a leaping Dallin Watene-Zelezniak on the right side to cross over for the first points of the match.

Minutes later it was almost number two from the winger but with a foot over the line, Watene-Zelezniak was disallowed the try.

A 60-metre run from Ken Sio showed some spirit from Newcastle but it didn’t deter the home side as Corey Harawira-Naera broke through the Knights defence to cross the line on debut. Nathan Cleary converted to lead the Knights 10-0.

UK import Joe Wardle made his NRL debut, coming on in the 21st minute before a third from Penrith, via Te Taire Martin to lead 16-0.

Jacob Saifiti was welcomed to the game with a heavy hit and was assisted off the field before Penrith’s Harawira-Naera offloaded to Tyrone Peachey for the home side's fourth try.

Cleary booted the conversion to lead the Knights 22-0 at halftime.

The Panthers’ Cleary opened the scoring account in the second half with a penalty goal out front.

Almost for the Knights, Sam Stone threw the ball to Ken Sio in the right corner, but it was deemed a forward pass while down the other end, Panthers hooker Peter Wallace and winger Dean Whare found space to crash over.

There was no-one to back up Nathan Ross as he made a 60-metre sprint down the field and within five minutes, Cleary struck again for the Panthers to make the final score 40-0.


Newcastle Knights 0
Penrith Panthers 40 (T: Watene-Zelezniak, Harawira-Naera, Martin, Peachy, Wallace, Whare, Cleary, G: Cleary 5/7, PG: Cleary 1)