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Photo: Mark Nolan ©

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys NYC side has been handed a heavy defeat by defending under-20s premiers Penrith at Pepper Stadium tonight.

The 36-10 loss was compounded by a serious arm injury to back-rower Mitch Dunn – who left the field in the first half and didn’t return – while hooker Brandon Smith copped a head cut that needed attention before he was allowed to return.

After Cowboys winger Marcus Jensen scored the game’s opening try, a classic encounter between the competition’s first and third-ranked teams looked likely.

But the Panthers’ speed and power – coupled with NQ’s early injury toll – contributed to a dominant first half to the home side.

Winger Ratu Tuisese posted a first-half hat-trick and Penrith went into the break leading 18-4.

Three more Panthers tries had the team well in control until Cowboys lock Jordan Kenworthy crashed over to have the scores at 30-10.

Slippery Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary scored his second in the 75th minute to put an exclamation mark on a dominant display from the NYC powerhouse.

PENRITH PANTHERS 36 (Ratu Tuisese 3, Nathan Cleary 2, Wayde Egan ,Tyrone May tries; Cleary 4 goals) def NORTH QUEENSLAND TOYOTA COWBOYS 10 (Marcus Jensen, Jordan Kenworthy tries; Kalyn Ponga goal) at Pepper Stadium.