Geyer impresses as Penrith smash Sharks

Troy Whittaker |

Son of a gun Mavrik Geyer stole the spotlight in Penrith’s 34-6 NRL trial win over Cronulla, whose halfback Braydon Trindall is at the mercy of the match review committee for dangerous contact.

Despite not fielding any of their grand final-winning players, the Panthers unofficially got their title defence off to a comfortable start by putting six tries on the young Sharks at CommBank Stadium.

Geyer, a powerful 21-year-old second-rower whose father is former Panthers hardman Mark, ran a great line to score after coming off the bench before handing the ball off to assist Niwhai Puru in the second half.

“It was mad, pre-season was really good with the boys and it was good to put the points on,” Geyer said.

“It was a good little hit-out and hopefully a taste of what the future is.”

Trindall jeopardised his hopes of partnering star recruit Nicho Hynes in the halves come round one after being sin-binned and placed on report for a shoulder to the head of Thomas Jenkins.

The Sharks playmaker’s saving grace may be that Jenkins fell into the contact as he dropped the ball.

Even if he avoids a ban, Trindall, who couldn’t spark an error-riddled Cronulla into any attacking rhythm, may fill a utility role after coach Craig Fitzgibbon lauded his versatility.

Cleary indicated pre-game that 19-year-old Izack Tago, who played six NRL games off the bench last season, is set to fill Penrith’s left centre role vacated by Canterbury recruit Matt Burton.

Tago had some slick involvements including an offload that allowed winger George Jennings space to kick inside for Kurt Falls to score the opening try in the 29th minute.

Former Sydney Roosters and Warriors halfback Sean O’Sullivan proved a capable back-up to Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai, producing a lovely short ball to send Geyer across the stripe.

“(We) have been same edge all pre-season so for that to pull off after a bit of work was good,” Geyer said.

Cronulla only used a handful of NRL regulars but Fitzgibbon would’ve been encouraged by the efforts of powerful forwards Braden Hamlin-Uele, Royce Hunt and Siosifa Talakai.

Talakai ran and hit with vigour but was forced off after a head knock in the 23rd minute.

Leading 12-0 at the break, Penrith kicked clear after Puru’s four-pointer with Logan Cohen and Jennings also crossing on the left edge to blow out the margin.

Hulking prop Tom Hazelton spun his way to the chalk to save Cronulla from a shutout before Puru grabbed an opportunistic double at the death.

Promising Sharks forward Franklin Pele could also have a case to answer at the judiciary having been sin-binned for dangerous contact on Penrith’s Jaeman Salmon in the 69th minute.