Head coach Ivan Cleary hailed a "really cool" performance from Liam Martin that drove the Panthers to a 38-12 win over the Sharks, a 10th successive victory for the team.
The back-rower was outstanding and grabbed the fifth of seven tries for the leaders, with Josh Mansour crossing for a double on his 150th NRL appearance.
Martin signed a new two-year contract this week and showed his worth to Cleary with an all-action display.
"That's really cool," Cleary told a post-game news conference. "For that performance it just shows the character of him and he had a huge impact in our performance tonight."
Viliame Kikau set the Panthers on the way to a comfortable win with a third-minute opening try, with Mansour and Brent Naden dotting down before the 20-minute mark.
Stephen Crichton went over before the break, with Martin, Jarome Luai and Mansour adding second-half scores. Jesse Ramien and Connor Tracey grabbed the Sharks' consolation tries.
Cleary said of the team's performance: "It was very good, but there's still things that we need to fix.
"I don't mean to be arrogant or disrespectful to the Sharks or anything. We're confident we're doing a lot of things right, but there's little lessons again tonight, little things again in our game from week to week, that whether individual or from a team we can still improve on and the boys know that."
Dean Young made a winning start to his coaching career as St George Illawarra Dragons landed a 28-24 win over Brisbane Broncos.
Two tries from Mikaele Ravalawa and one each for Josh Kerr and Corey Norman, who both crossed in the opening five minutes, were supplemented by 12 points from the boot of Zac Lomax.
Young, a former star forward for the Dragons, took over following the departure of Paul McGregor, seizing the chance to guide the team through the rest of their season.
The Broncos trailed by just two points when Kotoni Staggs added the extras to Tom Dearden's 69th-minute try, but the Dragons held out, with Lomax's third penalty at the death putting the seal on their success.