It is nearly becoming a weekly occurrence for Forbes Magpies junior and Penrith Panthers flyer Charlie Staines, though this week he scored three tries in a 48-0 strong showing against the Cronulla Sharks last weekend.
Buoyed by the Panthers scintillating start to the season that has seen them go 9-0 in the NRL, undefeated in NSW Cup and only one defeat in Jersey Flegg, Staines continues to shine in a star-studded side that has also won 26 of its last 27 and plays a Titans team this Sunday that may be without star player David Fifita.
It was Staines seventh try against the Sharks in only two games leaving the former NRL powerhouse languishing near the bottom of the ladder. Sharks fans must be sick of the sight of Staines, a phrase previously unheard of after former Queensland Origin prop Dan played with the club during the 80s and 90s.
Yet bigger tests lay on the horizon for the young Panthers with Origin meaning up to six players may be out which will certainly test the team’s depth. Games against Souths this month and the Roosters and Eels back-to-back in late June early July also loom as a real litmus test for the club before Melbourne again in August in what may well be the precursor to this year’s decider.
A rematch between last years combatants looks certain at this point and nothing short of a win on their 30th anniversary since their first title will be enough for the Panthers.
As for Staines, its Magic Round next Sunday against the Gold Coast Titans in Brisbane and a shot at the perfect 10!