Penrith went into Monday's NSW Rugby Under-14 State Championship grand final as red-hot favourites and the Emus more than justified the hype, galloping to a comprehensive decider win.
The Emus stormed to a 29-10 decider victory over a plucky Gordon outfit, just hours after brushing Manly aside in their semi-final after the Marlins had looked Penrith's only potential challenger all weekend.
It's the group’s second title after taking home the under-13 spoils in 2017.
The win is also a promising sign for Penrith, after the Emus were unceremoniously dumped from the Shute Shield earlier this year.
They had great leadership on the field from captain Isiah Katoa, and three tries to Siotame Hansen – including one try some eight seconds into the second half – meant the result was never in doubt.
However, Gordon didn’t drop their heads and fought back into the game, controlling much of the second half and had Jarson Ngatai Mauro and Lachlan Hooper send tries of their own over.
VIDEO: The Penrith Emus boys celebrate in full voice ...
Penrith coach Ronnie Patea said he knew there was a “target on our backs” after claiming the under-13s crown last season, but the win meant a lot considering the senior club’s woes and subsequent focus on youth.
“We mentioned that to the boys with the seniors not doing so well we needed to show the world we’ve still got talent at the club and we did that today,” Patea said.
“It’s a great experience for some of them, they’re a bunch of champions, most of them were there last year so we’re really excited.”
He said the side had been fortunate to be supported by parents and strangers alike.
“It was like playing at home, good people supporting us and lots of people came out to support the boys and we can’t ask for anything more,” Patea said.
“We’d like to thank the tournament hosts and anyone else putting it together.”
Gordon coach Alex Pendegrast said his side’s second half was set up by their win over Northern Suburbs.
“We were hunting as a pack [earlier] and we finally brought that out in the second half,” he said.
“We’ve had a great tournament, the set-ups been fantastic the organisation’s been fantastic and the ground’s been fantastic.”