The Newcastle Knights put an embarrassing fullstop on a season that promised so much but delivered so little with another woeful defensive capitulation against Penrith at Panthers Stadium.
They gave up nine tries in their 54-10 trouncing, their biggest loss of the season, eclipsing the 46-4 thrashing by the Wests Tigers a fortnight ago.
Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary cashed in on some pathetic Knights defence to score four tries and kick nine goals for a record personal haul of 34 points.
Both side's were out of finals contention but the Knights spoke all week in the lead up about playing for pride and a ninth-place finish on the ladder. Instead they fell apart in the second half to end up finishing in 11th spot, a no better finish than 2018.
Incoming coach Adam O'Brien has a job on his hands to find 17 players next season with the mental steel to become a finals side and premiership contender.
About the only bright spot for Newcastle on a dismal afternoon was a 60 metre intercept try to debutant Starford To'a in the first half that gave his side a brief 4-0 lead.
Cleary played a big role in his side's 18-4 halftime lead, scoring two individual first half tries through some paper-thin Knights defence.
They came after To'a had given his side a 4-0 lead with his intercept try midway through the first half.
Prior to that, the Knights had several shots at the Panthers try-line but could not find a way through.
But no sooner had the teenage winger put the visitors in front, Cleary responded, getting on the outside of backrower Mitch Barnett before stepping back inside a wrong-footed Kalyn Ponga to score under the posts.
Despite running into a stiff breeze, Penrith started to assert their authority with the Knights defence struggling to contain them.
It opened up like the Sydney Heads for winger Brian To'o seven minutes from the break when he stepped as many as six Knights defenders to slam the ball down for a 12-4 advantage.
Cleary scored his second with three minutes left in the half, this time slicing past Herman Ese'ese and again beating Ponga for another soft try and a 14 point advantage.
An early knee injury to centre Sione Mata'utia only added to the Knights first half woes .
The Knights needed to be the first to score in the second half to give themselves a chance and they wasted little time with Ese'ese making up for his defensive lapse to reach out for a try just four minutes after the resumption. Mason Lino's conversion reduced the lead to 18-10.
But again, Penrith hit back with Billy Burns bringing down a Cleary cross-kick and scoring his first NRL try to stretch the advantage back out to 14 points.
It was 30-10 when the Panthers launched a raid from inside their own half with backrower Viliame Kikau producing an outstanding play just inside the left hand touchline to put his hooker Wayde Egan over.
The carnage continued midway through the half just after Connor Watson was sin binned for a professional foul.
This time it was Moses Leota who strolled over from close range for his side's sixth try and a 36-10 lead.
When Cleary crossed for his third try with 17 minutes remaining, it was 42-10 and Burns scored his second soon after for a 48-10 scoreline.
Cleary's fourth try with 13 minutes left was his side's fourth in eight minutes.