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Burton the leading man as Panthers trounce Warriors

Penrith's inexperienced halves Matt Burton and Jarome Luai have bounced back from last week's golden-point woes to deliver the club's best start to a season in more than two decades with a 26-0 victory over the Warriors on Friday night.

Five days after struggling to deliver a killer blow against the Knights at  Campbelltown, a Burton first-half double and individual effort from Luai tries gave the Panthers a 16-0 lead at half-time.

Unlike last week where they let slip a 14-0 advantage, Ivan Cleary's men rammed home their advantage early in the second term when Josh Mansour finished off some slick passing to score in the left corner.

With three wins and a draw the Panthers are unbeaten after four rounds for the first time since 1997 and are set to be boosted by the return of Nathan Cleary for next week's clash with Parramatta, while Dylan Edwards (hamstring) is also a chance to play. 

Who partners Cleary in the halves could be up for another discussion after Burton's switch to the left edge came up trumps for coach Cleary.

"We'll look at it on Monday and work out what to do," Cleary said.

"Clearly after last week Matt was disappointed [about the field goal misses] but I told him he didn't need to be. It was probably a good thing it was a short turnaround.

"He walked in with his head up straight away during the week, went out tonight and put in a good performance so I'm very proud of him.

"He's a good kid, Matt. We've got a lot of faith in him. These last two games will do him good."

Burton's first four-pointer of the evening kick-started the Panthers' night with a Luai kick ricocheting off Patrick Herbert's hands after a strong contest from Stephen Crichton.

Burton's second, which came against the run of play, landed in his hands after a poor kick from opposite half Blake Green, with the playmaker racing 40 metres to the line.

An individual effort from Luai, who grubbered for himself close to the line with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck caught out of position, was the eyes-up play the Samoan international strives for. 

The final blow, struck by Billy Burns via a Burton pass, put the game to bed with 16 minutes remaining.

The platform for the Panthers’ win was laid by James Tamou and James Fisher-Harris up front while Viliame Kikau gave the Warriors defence plenty of headaches.

A spectacular effort from Patrick Herbert wasn't enough for the Warriors to get on the board late with the winger ruled to have put his foot into touch despite acrobatically placing the ball down close to the dead-ball line.

Tohu Harris (204m) was among the visitors' best but he had limited help despite late inclusions Hayze Perham and Adam Pompey also cracking a century.

Burton opens the scoring for Penrith

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