Penrith have clinched their first NRL minor premiership in 17 years.
The Panthers won the J.J. Giltinan shield following a dominant 32-12 victory over the Cowboys in Townsville on Friday night.
They wrap up top spot with a game to spare.
The Panthers piled on four first-half tries on their way to a 14th straight win with Brian To’o, Stephen Crichton, Josh Mansour and Jarome Luai crossing to hand the visitors a 20-0 lead.
“We didn’t care how the win came today, there was a lot riding on it,”coach Ivan Cleary said.
“We certainly value [the minor premiership]. In the football world it’s considered the major premiership – testament to who is the most consistent team is the comp.
“If you look at the past winners over the last seven years it’s the Roosters and Storm.
“For us to be in that company it’s something we’re really proud of. It’s no mean feat.”
“I think in terms of our confidence it’s pretty high,” Cleary said.
“Once the finals come it’s a new competition but what we’ve done is forged some belief in ourselves and given us a good chance leading into the finals with the first game at home.
“But it’s a new competition and we’ll have to treat it that way.”