Charlie Staines aka the Forbes Ferrari and ladder-leading Penrith Panthers made it 12 on the bounce heading into Origin with a comprehensive 30-4 win over last-placed Canterbury Bulldogs last weekend.
Penrith must now get past a rejuvenated Wests Tigers side while missing up to seven players this week if they are to notch consecutive win number 13. The record to start a season is the 1995 Manly side.
Staines, who scored a double with plenty of time on the clock nearly sent the local Post Office Hotel broke having amassed a strike rate that includes as many tries as he has played first grade games for the mountain men. Local publican Matt Coleman may have to swap free schooners for handshakes if Staines continues in this vein.
Staines first appeared on the Panthers radar as part of the club’s junior development programs in Central West NSW and joined the club’s SG Ball squad in 2018. The following year he made his senior debut in the Canterbury Cup competition and was named NSWRL Jersey Flegg Player of the Year. In 2020 Staines scored four tries on NRL debut against the Sharks and signed a contract extension to commit to Panthers until the end of 2023.
The Forbes Ferrari has now scored 16 tries in just 14 appearances in the top grade for the Panthers and shows no signs of slowing down. Will it be lucky number 13 for Staines and the Panthers this weekend against the Tigers without seven Origin stars? So long as Penrith have the Forbes Ferrari of course they can!