Carney masterclass as Cronulla hammer Penrith
The football field proved a place of solace for Cronulla, with the drugs scandal which intensified during the week put to one side in a 38-10 drubbing of Penrith at Remondis Stadium.
With 10 players this week receiving notices from the NRL to organise interviews with ASADA, the investigation into the club's 2011 supplement program again hit home, with the Sharks coming into the game on the back of a 40-0 hiding by Sydney Roosters last weekend.
But it was put to one side on the back of a Todd Carney masterclass, the Sharks No 6 looking fresh after being ignored by NSW Origin selectors, scoring 18 points on his own as he carved up a Penrith side which is losing touch with the top eight.
Making defeat worse for the Panthers was the man deemed surplus to requirements by coach Ivan Cleary - fullback Michael Gordon - scoring a double for the home side, his first coming off a deft inside ball from another former Panther in Wade Graham.
The damage was done over the opening 40 minutes when the Sharks ran in three tries to hold a 20-0 lead at the break, Gordon's opener followed by a individual effort from Carney who dummied and danced past a pair of defenders.
The Panthers seemed out of ideas other than for Luke Walsh to kick to the corners, Cronulla making them pay on the stroke of halftime when Sosaia Feki crossed out wide.
There was little urgency in Penrith after the break when Gordon grubbered ahead to score from ten metres out, the game as good as over at 26-0.
Matt Moylan was denied a try for Penrith when millimetres offside, James Roberts scoring minutes later when he showed better timing to run down a Moylan grubber.
Lewis Brown butchered a try when he bounced a ball to end any hopes of a thrilling comeback, Roberts' second 12 minutes from time merely softening the scoreline.
Cronulla celebrated with two late tries including a second for Feki on the bell when he brilliantly chased down a Carney chip kick just inside the deadball line.