The Panthers emphasised its premiership credentials with a devastating 48-4 victory over the Roosters at BlueBet Stadium.
Five-eighth Jarome Luai – who has felt pressure to keep his Origin spot over reigning Dally M medallist Nicho Hynes - was the star with two try assists, two line breaks and a try.
Speaking post-match, Luai was understandably delighted.
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“Mad game from the boys,” he told Nine’s coverage.
“We haven’t played at home for a while so we were eager to get back in front of our home fans, against a team like the Roosters we knew it was going to be a big one so I’m happy with that win.
After scoring in the 75th minute, Luai ‘shushed’ the camera in a sign of silencing his critics.
”I love a bit of get back,” he joked.
“But the boys turned up tonight and I think we all just fed off each other with our energy. That’s our type of footy.”
After their shock loss to the Tigers in round nine, the Panthers have recovered with two strong showings.
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“Just working hard at training, that’s where is all starts for us,” Luai said.
“Our combinations are coming along nicely and hopefully we can keeping building off this win and keep moving forward.”
Post-game NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler was full of praise for the performance of his incumbent five-eighth.
“The good thing was he came out during the week and said, ‘It’s mine to lose’,” he said.
“He talked confidently and then to come out (on the) big stage, and he was in the game early, was very physical early, and amongst that came up with some really big plays – some classy plays, some nice touches, some nice passing and just was involved the entire game.”
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Fittler went on to say he hasn’t spoken too much with Luai after any matches this season when the five-eighth didn’t look to be in the form he’s capable off.
“No (I haven’t), it’s around Origin time, JT and I were talking about it before the game, there’s seven teams on 12 points, teams stand up at this stage and teams will start to fall away a little, tonight was a team standing up across the board,” he said.
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The Panthers will next travel to Brisbane to face “the big Broncos” on Thursday night.
“I’ve been watching a lot of their games this year,” Luai said.
We played them in round one and they beat us at home so pretty keen to get up at Suncorp (Stadium) and give them a good crack.”
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