Penrith coach Ivan Cleary hailed his side's opening 40 minutes against St George Illawarra as their best of the season as they moved into the top eight on the NRL ladder following Saturday's 19-0 win over St George Illawarra.
First-half tries from Travis Robinson, Matt Moylan and Dean Whare secured the points as the visitors raced to a 18-0 halftime lead with Luke Walsh kicking a late field goal to add some extra gloss to the scoreline.
Cleary's band of unheralded heroes held the Dragons scoreless at Kogarah for the first time in their illustrious history but the former Warriors mentor warned his team not to get carried away after making it three wins on the spin.
"I thought our start was probably the best we've had all year," Cleary said.
"In the second half I thought they were setting the pace and we were hanging on, but somehow we found a way numerous times to keep them scoreless."
With the Panthers having a bye next week and then hosting the lowly Wests Tigers in round 13, there's a real chance they can enter the second half of the season in a strong position.
However, Cleary did his best to play down the side's progress after starting the season as favourites for the wooden spoon having lost star players Luke Lewis, Michael Jennings and Michael Gordon.
"It's a long way away from that (finals) but we've definitely improved so that's the whole idea of it," he said.
"I think our beliefs gone up to new levels over the last three weeks so obviously that's a good thing and we're just trying to keep improving."
"If you make the eight you'll deserve it. Where you finish is where you deserve to finish so we're not worrying about that at the moment."
With key players such as Lachlan Coote, Josh Mansour and Sam McKendry amongst those sidelined through injury, the Panthers' rejuvenation has been a remarkable achievement.
Young fullback Moylan, who signed a new contract this week, enhanced his burgeoning reputation with another try and Cleary said the 21-year-old has surprised the coaching staff by how easy he has made the transition to the NRL.
"He's done very well," Cleary said.
"He could have possibly played last year but missed out through injury but I think we all think he has done a lot better than we could have hoped. He is a good young player."
Dragons coach Steve Price was in no mood to sugar coat his side's performance and refused to blame the officials, who disallowed three tries for the defeat.
"That was a very disappointing loss, I didn't see that coming," Price said.
"We came off a very good win against the Eels last week and had a good week at training.
"There was no drive to start the game with any intent and they certainly did and we found ourselves 18-0 down at halftime.
"In life you have to earn the right to get those decisions. It's about the want and the intent and we didn't do that from the outset."click here for full story...