Warriors 12 Panthers 40

The Penrith Panthers scored their third consecutive National Rugby League (NRL) victory, winning 40-12 after they took advantage of an insipid New Zealand Warriors first half display in Auckland today.

The Warriors were down 0-22 at the break after they regularly dropped the ball, lost possession twice on the last tackle inside their half and failed three times to deal with crossfield bombs from Panthers halfback Luke Walsh.

They showed a little spine in the second half but were clearly outplayed by a well-drilled Panthers team.

It was the Warriors' second consecutive defeat at home, either side of a thrilling away win over the Bulldogs in Sydney.

The Warriors showed signs of what was to come today inside four minutes when an error gave the Panthers possession. From the resulting set Kevin Locke failed to deal with a Walsh bomb and Adrian Purtell was on hand to score.

They were in again after 13 minutes with an 80m try, Kevin Kingston dotting down after a missed tackle on Brad Tighe on the left wing.

The third came after Lance Hohaia was caught when he unwisely tried to run the ball on the last tackle 40m from his own line. From the resulting set fullback Lachlan Coote scored after another Walsh bomb.

Walsh again caught the Warriors out five minutes from halftime, Michael Gordon beating Wade McKinnon to the kick.

It was a changed home team that finally started to show some spirit after the break and were rewarded five minutes into the half, Ukuma Ta'ai scoring under the posts after his team had bust through the line the previous tackle.

Five minutes later the Warriors were over again, James Maloney winning possession 40m from the tryline from a loose Panthers pass and Brent Tate scoring near the right corner.

But any hope the Warriors had were quashed when Panthers five-eighth Travis Burns forced his was over the line in the 58th minute.

Purtell scored again from a last tackle move in the 66th minute, and Kingston put the seal on the win five minutes from time after Tighe had again made a break on the left wing.

Penrith Panthers 40 (Adrian Purtell 2, Kevin Kingston 2, Lachlan Coote, Michael Gordon, Travis Burns tries; Gordon 6 goals) New Zealand Warriors 12 (Ukuma Ta'ai, Brent Tate tries; James Maloney 2 goals). Halftime: 22-0. Referees: Gavin Badger, Brett Suttor. Crowd: 14,620.

- NZPA