By Blake Edwards
Illawarra have suffered a heavy 48-18 loss against the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the Intrust Super Premiership.
In what was a disruptive week with key players departing the club, a young Illawarra side took to the field and found themselves well and truly in the grind, until a string of tries late in the first half halted all of their enthusiasm.
Penrith playmaker Tyrone May evaded defenders close to the line to open his side's account midway through the first half before crossing again six minutes later.
Another try after the half-time siren to Jed Cartwright undone Illawarra's hard work to remain in the game, as they stared at an 18-0 scoreline come the break.
Cartwright started off where he left off scoring immediately after the break, further asserting his side's dominance.
Maiko Sivo, Bryce Cartwright and Liam Martin followed suit, as they all crashed over for four-pointers to give the mountain men a comfortable 42-0 lead.
Illawarra would finally break the shackles when Jack Payne crossed for their first of the afternoon.
Jesse Dee scored his first try in the Intrust Super Premiership a short while later to narrow the deficit to 42-12.
Penrith hit back through Jerome Luai to give his side a chance at cracking the half-century mark with five minutes remaining.
However, Illawarra’s Josh Kerr had other ideas, barging over to round out the 30-point loss to Illawarra.
Penrith Panthers 48 (Tyrone May 2, Jed Cartwright 2, Maiko Sivo, Liam Martin, Bryce Cartwright, Jerome Luai tries; Darren Nicholls 8 goals) defeated Illawarra 18 (Jack Payne, Jesse Dee, Josh Kerr tries; Taane Milne 3 goals) at Pepper Stadium. Half-time: Panthers 18-0.