Teenager Staines scores four on stunning debut as Panthers hammer Sharks

By Sports Desk July 11, 2020

Teenager Charlie Staines enjoyed an unforgettable NRL debut as the Penrith Panthers moved top of the standings with a thumping win over the Cronulla Sharks.

Backed by a group of friends who had travelled to Netstrata Jubilee Oval, the 19-year-old scored four tries as the Panthers won 56-24 to move above the Parramatta Eels, having played a game more.

Staines is the first player to score four debut tries since Jordan Atkins for the Gold Coast Titans 12 years ago.

The Panthers dominated from the off and were 16-0 ahead after 20 minutes, Brent Naden, Liam Martin and Stephen Crichton scoring tries and Nathan Cleary twice adding the extras.

Staines' first came after 23 minutes as he finished a slick backline move before he set up Dylan Edwards to add another two minutes later.

The Sharks rallied through Briton Nikora and Blayke Brailey before half-time but Staines and Billy Burns strengthened the Panthers' advantage despite the loss of captain James Tamou to the sin bin.

A Cleary penalty and another Crichton try put paid to any hopes of a comeback after Jesse Ramien went over, and Staines made sure the headlines belonged to him with two further tries in the final seven minutes.

In the late game on Saturday, Melbourne Storm stood firm in the face of late pressure to claim a 20-14 win over the Canberra Raiders, who lost Josh Hodgson to a suspected ACL injury after 28 minutes.

Storm were 12-6 up at half-time at GIO Stadium, Brenko Lee and Josh Addo-Carr going over either side of a Josh Papalii try.

Ryan Papenhuyzen stretched the lead after the interval, gathering a kick and racing 90 yards down the right wing before dotting down, but Nick Cotric reduced the arrears with 13 minutes left.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad scored in the final minute but it was not enough for the Raiders, who slip four points behind third-place Storm.

The Brisbane Broncos had an easier time of things against the struggling Canterbury Bulldogs, winning 26-8 at Suncorp Stadium.

Jamayne Isaako scored two of his side's five tries to add to six points with the boot, although a knee injury to captain Alex Glenn soured celebrations.

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    2 – Smith was crowned the NRL's best and fairest player in 2006 and 2017. Only Thurston (four) and Andrew Johns (three) earned more honours.

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