The Panthers have broken their losing streak in spectacular style, winning the Battle of the West curtain-raiser against the Eels, 18-14 at Sportingbet Stadium
It was a tough contest where both teams attacked and defended even harder, and there was even a 40 minute period in the middle of the match where no points were scored at all, which is rare in the NYC competition.
Both sides got off to a solid start, with Parramatta scoring the first points after being awarded a penalty in the 4th minute. Hooker Joey Lussick was the one who dived over from dummy half, and with the successful conversion, the Eels took an early 6-0 lead.
Parramatta took control of the match early and was dominating possession, and in the eigth minute they had their second four pointer through Nathan Davis, who got on the outside of the Penrith defence. The kick was waved away, so they extended their lead to 10-0.
The Panthers hit back from the kick off, regaining possession from the kick off, and sheer grit and determination saw David Cowhan drag three defenders over the line to score. Corey Harawira nicely converted to reduce the gap to 10-6.
We levelled the score in the 18th minute when Jarrod Brackenhofer put a beautiful kick through for Christian Crichton, who ran onto it and dived over to score. Harawira made the tricky sideline conversion to put us in front 12-10.
Josh Jay almost gave us another try 10 minutes later, but strong defence from Parramatta kept him out, with four Eels defenders jumping on his back to hold him out.
Then the 35 minute scoreless period began, which carried over to the second half.
HALF TIME: 12-10 Panthers
In the opening minutes of the second half, Panthers hooker Sione Katoa was sin binned for holding on in a tackle for too long.
For the next 20 minutes, both teams hammered away at their lines, but defence was just as good from each side, and no one put points on the board.
Then, in the 62nd minute, Waqa Blake crossed for the home side after Sam Scarlett put a bomb up and the Eels fumbled, leaving the ball open for him to scoop up and run over the line. Harawira nailed the kick, and Penrith extended their lead to 18-10.
Parramatta added another four points to their total with 15 minutes on the clock when they fumbled the ball a few metres out from their line, but then regathered, and Tepai Tepu Smith dived over the line. The kick missed so the score went to 18-14.
The remaining minutes were played out in the centre of the field, and no one put any more points on the board, which meant Penrith’s young guns had broken their winning streak and had bagged the win!
FULL TIME: 18-14 Panthers