For the first time since 2010, a sell-out crowd has packed Sportingbet Stadium to watch the Panthers defeat the Eels 38-12 to win the Battle of the West, and notch up their third consecutive win!
Overall, it was one of our best performances of the season. The boys had a lot to prove tonight, having lost our last match against Parramatta earlier in the year, we wanted to get one back to level the score.
We got off to a great start and had Parramatta on the back foot from the kickoff. Our defence was impeccable throughout the match and despite a bit of a rocky week, we didn’t let it rattle us. Isaah Yeo had an outstanding game and scored his first NRL try, while Jamie Soward had a blinder of a match and was involved in numerous tries.
An hour before kickoff we had confirmation that young Isaah Yeo would be coming into the side for Jamal Idris, Bryce Cartwright would make his first grade debut from the bench, Tyrone Peachey would start at lock for Adam Docker who was having a week off, and Nigel Plum was added to the side.
The Panthers scored the first points four minutes into the match, when Jamie Soward put a beautiful grubber kick over to the left of the field and it looked like it would go dead, but Josh Mansour steamed in from nowhere, grabbed the ball mid-air and grounded it just before the dead ball line! Sowie made the conversion with ease, and the home side took a 6-0 lead.
10 minutes later we almost had our second try after Sowie put a high bomb up and gave chase, the ball came down and bounced off a couple of players, before falling into the arms of Tyrone Peachey who dived over the line. But the video ref ruled a no try because the ball came off Sowie’s shoulder, so play continued.
In the 23 minute we did add those four points to the board after a cheeky play from James Segeyaro. He picked up the ball from dummy half a couple of metres out from our line, looked left but dived straight and got the ball down over the line under the posts. Sowie made the conversion from in front, extending Penrith’s lead to 12-0.
With 11 minutes on the clock we were awarded a penalty after Matt Moylan was taken out in a high shot just as he was running the ball over the line. Sowie kicked for two, taking the score to 14-0.
Tyrone Peachey gave us our next try 60 seconds later after some confusion in the centre of the field that left the Eels on the back foot. A kick was put in, Moylan chased and kicked it on before he and several other players got caught up in a tackle. The ball was picked up by Elijah Taylor who sent it left and it found the hands of Tyrone Peachey who had plenty of room to sprint 20m and dive over the line. The kick was waived away, so the score went to 18-0.
The Panthers dominated the rest of the half, rarely letting Parramatta get close to their line, keeping them scoreless for the entire 40 minutes.
HALF TIME: PANTHERS 18-0
In the 47th minute, the crowd erupted when young Bryce Cartwright came onto the field to make his first grade debut.
A few minutes later we had our next try, with Tyrone Peachey bagging his second for the night! He got the ball on the 40m line and found a hole in the Eels defence, running straight through it, all the way to the line. Sowie converted, giving the home side a 24-0 lead.
In the 58th minute Isaah Yeo got his first NRL try! He got the ball on the 10m line and barrelled into a pack of Eels defenders, before barging his way over the line with three of them on his back. Sowie’s kick went straight through the uprights, taking the Panthers lead to 30-0.
The Eels came agonisingly close to putting their first points on the board in the 64th minute when Justin Hunt took off down the sideline and tried to dive over the line. But Penrith’s defence managed to get him over the sideline and force the ball free before he grounded the ball.
With 10 minutes on the clock Parramatta finally got over the line, when Pauli Pauli barged his way through our backline and fell to ground the ball. Chris Sandow converted, taking the score to 30-6.
They backed that up a few minutes later when Corey Norman intercepted the ball on the 40m line and broke away to sprint to the line. The kick went straight through the uprights, so the scoreboard moved to 30-12, with 6 minutes remaining.
But the Panthers weren’t happy about those two tries and fired back in the 75th minute, when Josh Mansour collected a bomb and spun out of a tackle to fall over the line! The kick was waved away, so Panthers took a 34-12 lead.
The icing on the cake came with just over a minute left on the clock, when Moylan picked up a loose ball and sent a cut out pass to Sowie, who sprinted passt several defenders to dive over the line! The conversion missed, but it didn’t matter because the Panthers had won the Battle of the West!
FULL TIME: 38-12 Panthers