Penrith will play the North Pride in a curtain raiser to the NRL grand final after defeating Newcastle 48-12 in the NSW Cup decider.
Penrith have softened the blow of their NRL preliminary final exit, taking out the second-tier NSW Cup grand final with a 48-12 thumping of Newcastle at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday.
The Panthers totally dominated the contest to score eight tries to two, with fullback and man-of-the-match Kieran Moss scoring three four-pointers before 3,258 fans.
In Penrith club captain Kevin Kingston’s final year at the club, a commanding forward performance laid the platform less than 24 hours after their NRL side fell one game short of the NRL grand final in losing 18-12 to Canterbury.
Penrith will now play Queensland Cup winners the Northern Pride in the second-tier ‘Superbowl’ match as a curtain-raiser to next Sunday’s NRL grand final between South Sydney and the Bulldogs.
Playmaker Luke Capewell opened the scoring for minor premiers the Panthers, who have won nine games on the trot.
Matt Minto hit back for the Knights four minutes later, but then it was all Penrith, with Isaah Yeo scoring in the 21st minute, Moss scoring his first in the 24th minute and Eto Nabuli crossing two minutes before the break for the Panthers to go to the sheds leading 24-6.
Waqa Blake put the Panthers further ahead in the 55th minute as they raced away to a 28-6 lead.
The Knights lacked structure in attack with playmaker Michael Dobson a late withdrawal with a foot injury, but Pat Vaivai charged over for Newcastle to stem the flow in the 61st minute and bridge the Panthers’ lead to 30-10.
But Moss snuffed out any chance of a fightback when he scored twice in three minutes between the 68th and 71st minutes.
A 76th-minute Ryan Simpkins try gave the Panthers their final points in the emphatic 36-point win.