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Burton brilliance helps Panthers prove they are far from spent force

The Roosters were on the end of a 6-1 first-half penalty count, which included Egan Butcher and Angus Crichton being placed on report, while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was given 10 minutes in the bin for laying all over Scott Sorensen after a six-again call had been made.

Referee Gerard Sutton had only minutes earlier warned both skippers that the next player who misbehaved would be given a spell.

A disappointed Waerea-Hargreaves shook his head and said to Sutton, the top whistleblower who is not afraid to hand out penalties and sin-binnings: “That’s rough, mate.”

Roosters coach Trent Robinson could live with the sin-binning, just as long as officials had the “kahunas” to call it out every time it happened.

A bloodied Angus Crichton looks on during a break in play.

A bloodied Angus Crichton looks on during a break in play.Credit:NRL Photos

“Consistency has to be there, and if you’re going to call it, call it every single game, every single week,” Robinson said.

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The Roosters did well to hang in this contest as long as they did. A Burton penalty goal gave Penrith a 14-6 half-time lead and then they trailed 20-6 and looked ready to be on the end of a Penrith walloping.

But they had too many class players to allow that to happen and hit back via Joey Manu and Daniel Tupou. They looked frantic with their attack at the death.

You have to wonder how the Roosters and their depleted roster will stand up against the heavyweights in the finals. Some of their big guns like Tedesco, Crichton and Waerea-Hargreaves must not have much left in the tank.

Coming into the Penrith game, they had taken care of strugglers Canterbury, North Queensland, Newcastle and an ordinary Parramatta. They should have no problems returning to the winners’ circle next week against the Broncos.

Burton, a kid from the bush who could just as happily enjoy the subsistence life, finished with 173 run metres and six tackle busts. Viliame Kikau was excellent, as was debutant Taylan May, Tyrone May’s little brother, who was a late inclusion on the left wing, not to mention the returning Isaah Yeo.

Penrith jump back into second spot on the ladder ahead of Souths. They will meet Wayne Bennett’s men in a fortnight and that now shapes as a belter.

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