A run of three losses early in the season had pundits questioning whether the Roosters' favouritism to replicate Brisbane's '92/'93 double was just pre-season fantasy, but a comfortable 32-12 win against the second placed Panthers has solidified them as the real deal.
The Tricolours' resounding performance in front of 13,993 cold fans at Allianz Stadium bore some similarities to their 56-4 victory over a hapless Parramatta in round two.
That victory coming just nine days after being caught with their pants down by the Rabbitohs seeking to exploit a post World Club Challenge hangover.
A four-day retreat on the Central Coast where they mulled over how they lost the unloseable to a depleted Cronulla pack 30-28 a fortnight ago, proved to be the break from footy Trent Robinson's men needed.
Despite the comfortable win, the talking point from the game was Elijah Taylor's sin binning in the fourth minute, which came on the back of a quick tap from the Roosters after a 40/20. Meanwhile, with seven minutes to go, Jamie Soward was prevented from taking a quick tap due to a ball boy's tardiness to put the ball on the ground, an incident which frustrated Soward.
"There's no point in having it, is there?" Soward said. "You're not allowed to get the ball unless the ball boy has the ball on the ground and the ball boys were doing the best job that could but the reality is that Kevin Naiqama or Jamal Idris sprints down there a lot quicker.
"I'm surprised the NRL haven't looked at ways for that to move and flow."
Although the Roosters' all but had the game wrapped up at 26-6 in the 73rd minute, Soward said the performance of ball boys could potentially affect a tight game.
"Today it was one of those things, a lot of frustration on my behalf, but of course it can affect a game," Soward said. "We saw it earlier on in the year, Parramatta took the tap three times. I don't know why have the rule if you're not going to encourage it."
Cleary agreed with his interim halfback's view that the NRL need to ensure the quick tap doesn't lose its value.
"We couldn't get a quick play the ball because the ball boy wasn't ready and I think that's something we need to fix," Cleary said. "Whether the ball boy is ready and has the ball on the ground I dont think it should be part of the experiment.
"It's a good rule but it's over governed. Their ballboy was super quick though and had the ball on the ground."
Roosters coach Trent Robinson said was happy with the way his players bounced back from their humiliating 30-28 two weeks ago, but said he is also on the bandwagon to get rid of the quick tap after a player kicks a 40/20.
"I really don't like that 40/20 rule, I don't think he should get penalised," Robinson said of Elijah Taylor's sin-binning in the fourth minute. "He shouldn't have gone to the bin."
Playmakers James Maloney, who copped a knock to the jaw from James Segeyaro in the dying minutes, and Mitchell Pearce experimented with success in attack, while Anthony Minichiello was his reliable self at the back, catching high balls coming down from a grey Sydney sky all afternoon.
Boyd Cordner bagged a double for the Roosters to go with his 202 metres from 22 carries and 37 tackles.
For Penrith, the last time they claimed the minor premiership was in 2002, and Saturday's game was billed as the time to either prove or debunk their premiership credentials.
But their kicking lacked spark and fluidity, which coach Cleary said might have something to do with a cruel five-day turnaround after a 35-34 victory over Brisbane on Monday night.
"Any reasonable man would suggest it was going to be a hard ask," Cleary said. "It was the shortest possible turnaround you can have playing; a night game into a day game five days later against the premiers who have come off a bye. That was definitely challenging."