The team, coached by King Henry Tupa, had convincing wins in all their three matches in Auckland.
The team had to resort to a well-executed game plan to outplay the opposition, who were experienced in the league masters game.
Panthers struggled in their opening match before making a strong comeback in the second spell to demolish the opposition five tries to one.
The three gold shorts (60-plus), the legendary Teariki Piri, Iona Taiki and Tuaminator Dyer were in devastating form, toying around the opposition with their deceptive passes and even scoring runaway tries in all three matches.
Charles Carlson was again at his best, with his fearsome defence supported by Big J Purua who combined well to deliver some bone-crunching tackles.
Pete Robertson, strapped up like a mummy, also went hard with a “never say die” attitude. He was in devastating form in both defence and attack and also crossed the line for a try.
Front rowers Eric (Rush) Teio and Tokoroa import Clerk Ramea also provided some big hits.
The two halfs, Piri and Carlson, combined their skills and experience well in controlling the play, creating opportunities for their outside speedsters Casper (the Ghost) Mateariki, Joe Tommy, Teariki Paitai and Mona Tetava to score tries out wide.
Panthers scored 13 tries and conceded only one in the tournament.
“The Papa and Mama Panthers would like to acknowledge our Cook Islands Turtles team who also fared well at the tournament,” Carlson said.
“Congratulations to Sunny Pureau for being selected in the NZ Kiwi Red Shorts (50-plus) squad, Bobby Hunter in the Black Shorts (40-plus) squad and to Lucky Matapuku as coach of the Gold Shorts (60-plus) squad.”
Panthers also thanked and acknowledged all their supporters and host during their tour: the New Zealand Takitumu and Tupapa community, Aunty Rosie and her team from the Cook Islands Consulate Office, the Otara Scorpions, CICC Church and the Atiu community in Mangere and all the families that helped during the team’s stay.