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NRL: Panthers start season with a bang

The Penrith Panthers are up and running for the 2022 NRL campaign after brushing aside Manly Sea Eagles 28-6 on Thursday night.

The Panthers are out to defend their premiership and could not have got off to a much better start following a dominant performance against the Sea Eagles.

O'Sullivan stars

In the build up to the clash much was made of the fact that a new-look side would take to the park following the departure of several top players in the off-season.

Star halfback Nathan Cleary was also missing but it did not matter as his replacement Sean O'Sullivan stepped up to the plate.

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The highlight for the former Warriors star was a long cut-out ball that set up Stephen Crichton for a first-half try.

"He'd prepared for this game for the past three months," coach Ivan Cleary said of O'Sullivan. "I'm really happy for him. Penrith boy, had to leave to look elsewhere. He's been in a few different systems.

"He's a real good footy head. Loves the game, loves learning. Came back here and has done everything we asked of him."

Manly struggles

Manly have had issues in the past when they face the best sides in the comp and it was the same again on Thursday night.

"It felt like we were definitely cramped in our corner for a fair bit," Sea Eagles captain Daly Cherry-Evans said. "That's a credit to the Panthers. But we have to find a way to get out."

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