He put so much effort into getting across the line that Staines twinged his hamstring and his night was suddenly over. Sadly for the Sea Eagles, so was theirs.
The Panthers remained at the top of the NRL ladder by blasting the Sea Eagles 42-12.
Their first half was unreal. Next Saturday night’s clash back at the foot of the mountains against Canberra will be a belter.
Staines bagged four on debut but then celebrated afterwards with too many family and friends, and breached COVID-19 protocols further when he dragged himself to hospital that same night with lockjaw.
He was glad to be given another start, but just as disappointed to miss at least next week’s Raiders clash.
Coach Ivan Cleary said of his zippy winger: “They were pretty good finishes, weren’t they? We have a lot of faith in Charlie, he’s a good kid with a good future ahead of him.
“He’s a young man who is extremely quick, and he’s had a few soft-tissue [injuries]. Hopefully it’s not too bad. Speed is one of his assets. Unfortunately, he can’t put two games together.”
Nathan Cleary, who spent a lot of time growing up in Sea Eagles territory, had the ball on a string. He grubbered for himself in the second half to score.
Few halfbacks would have been capable of firing his long looping pass with such accuracy for Staines’ second. The only possible knock on the kid right now is his hair.
His dad simply likes the fact his young Panthers are so consistent, and there was nothing to fault for the 80 minutes at Lottoland.
One of the few highlights for the Sea Eagles was skipper Daly Cherry-Evans racing nearly 90 metres to mow down Brent Naden just before half-time.
He also set up Jake Trbojevic’s first-half try, helped put Jorge Taufua over with a wobbly cross-field kick, and came up with a vital 40/20 midway through the second half. But again the Penrith defence refused to buckle.
Dylan Walker returned from a foot injury and forced newly re-signed Cade Cust out of the 17 altogether.
And coach Des Hasler would have cringed around the 11th minute when he realised Walker had re-injured his foot and hobbled from the field.”Dylan has a fracture [in his foot]. It’s a different area,” Hasler said.
When asked about leaving Cust off the bench, Hasler said: “What can you do about a fracture, and it wasn’t the same fracture.”
Curtis Sironen also finished with a knee injury and Brad Parker looks set to miss next Friday’s clash at home against the New Zealand Warriors because of a concussion.
At least with each week that passes Manly fans know Tom Trbojevic is a week closer to returning from a hamstring injury.
Hasler knew his side were blown off the park and it was pointless making excuses. There is no shame getting belted by Penrith.
“You can lean on the fact about injuries, but they were just better than us at key parts of their game,” Hasler said.
In keeping with the August 1 horse’s birthday, why not have a small bet on Penrith meeting the Sydney Roosters in the grand final? With Staines to score a try. And the Post Office Hotel to hand over its share of free beers.
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Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.