Panthers seal Minor Premiership despite solid defence from Eels

The Penrith Panthers played host to the Parramatta Eels as they looked to secure the Minor Premiership against the only team to beat them in 2020.

After a fast start from both sides, it was the Panthers who crossed first.

Stephen Crichton got to within inches of the line before the ball came loose, and Josh Mansour picked up the loose ball and dotted down.

The ball came out of the tackle backwards, but the bunker deemed the ball went forwards and it remained scoreless.

Penrith were targeting the Parramatta right side, this time through Jarome Luai.

However, after powering over Blake Ferguson the half-back didn’t manage to ground the ball.

The sustained pressure from the Panthers was taking its tol on the Eels who were physically tiring.

Brian To’o kicked back inside after running out of room on the right-wing, but Maika Sivo did enough to force a goal-line drop-out.

Just after the 20-minute mark, Moses Leota looked to crash over the line but the ball came out of the tackle, and into the in-goal area before it was grounded by Nathan Cleary.

On video review, the ball wasn’t stripped out by Nathan Brown and the score still remained 0-0.

After Api Koroisau was penalised for a dangerous tackle just before the half-hour mark, it gave Mitchell Moses the opportunity to give the Eels a slender lead.

The Panthers had the ball in hand in the final minute, and managed to spread the ball out to Mansour who dived over in the corner right on the hooter.

Mansour managed to stay in the field of play, and through the tackle of Blake Ferguson for the lead.

HALF-TIME: Penrith Panthers 6-2 Parramatta Eels

Penrith continued their intense pressure at the start of the second half, and with just under an hour gone, extended their lead further.

Cleary kicked high on the fifth tackle towards the posts, and Liam Martin jumped higher than everyone else, claimed the ball and dotted down.

With the Minor Premiership in sight, the Panthers were peppering the Parramatta line, with the Eels holding firm once again.

With ten minutes to go, the Eels were slowly working there way back up into the Penrith half.

That soon changed when Cleary kicked a 40/20 to put the Panthers deep inside the Parramatta half once again.

Viliame Kikau went within inches of the line after a huge run through the Eels defence but was stop by a last-ditch Clint Gutherson tackle.

Parramatta were called offside following a fifth tackle kick from Cleary was knocked down by Waqa Blake and into the hands of Junior Paulo.

Cleary converted the penalty to make it a 12-point lead for the home side with three minutes left.

In the final seconds, Luai skipped his was across the Parramatta line, three times left and then back off his right foot, and over the top of Gutherson to score under the posts for a 13th straight victory.

FULL-TIME: Penrith Panthers 20-2 Parramatta Eels


Squads


Penrith Panthers

Edwards, Mansour, Naden, Crichton, To’o. Luai, Cleary, Tamou, Koroisau, Fisher-Harris, Kikau, Martin, Yeo

Interchanges: May, Leniu, Leota, Tetevano

Tries: Mansour, Martin, Luai

Goals: Cleary (4/4)


Parramatta Eels

Gutherson, Sivo, Jennings, Blake, Ferguson, Field, Moses, Campbell-Gillard, Stone, Paulo, Lane, Matterson, Brown

Interchanges: Davey, Evans, Kaufusi, Smith

Tries:

Goals: Moses (1/1)


Referee: G. Sutton

Touch Judges: D. Munro, P. Henderson

Video Referee: B. Galea


Image Source: @PenrithPanthers (twitter)

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