The Panthers NYC side have bounced back from last weekend’s loss to the Tigers, with a gutsy 28-24 win over Parramatta this afternoon.
After a few showers which had left the Pepper Stadium surface wet and soggy, both sides struggled to find form early with errors and a few slips and spills around the park.
The Eels opened the scoring in the 16th minute thanks to a solid 15 metre sprint by their five-eighth which had the Panthers defence scrambling. A quick switch to the left hand side of the field resulted in a try to Abbas Miski who slide very close to the dead ball line. The conversion missed, so the visitors took a 4-0 lead.
The Panthers responded with a try of their own a few minutes later when centre Brett Naden found some open space and crashed over in the right hand corner. Tyrone May followed up with a conversion, putting Penrith ahead 6-4.
The Panthers defence continued to be challenged with Parramatta following up with a flurry of short bursting runs and quick passing. Some quick ball work from the Eels resulted in the second try to Miski, and the Panthers crowd breathed a collective sigh of relief when the kick attempt went wide, giving the Eels a 8-6 lead.
Parra were looking dangerous again and a 40 metre run by their winger threatened to add more points to their tally, but he was shut down when he was pushed in touch. The Panthers didn’t waste the opportunity and with a few quick plays, Kade Ellis had the ball and had barged his way over to score with just under 10 minutes until the half time break. The conversion put Penrith back out in front 12-8.
The Panthers were unfortunate not to score in the next play after contesting a high bomb that spilled from the opposition’s hands into the waiting arms of Maliko Filino. Despite beating two defenders to reach over and touch the ball just over the line, the ref called the play back.
Our next try came courtesy of Sione Katoa, whose well placed grubber inside the 10m line bobbled past Parramatta’s defence to be picked up and planted down by Jack Nelson. Soni Luke’s conversion was waved away, but the try extended the Panthers’ lead to 16-8.
In the dying seconds of the half, the Eels crashed over their line again after a flurry of activity near their line, with Aaron Pene eventually getting the 4 points. The kick missed, so the score went to 16-12.
HALF TIME SCORE: 16-12 Panthers
The opening minutes of this match were action packed with some spirited defence from the Panthers preventing another Eels try, and forcing a ball spill which gave us possession. Our boys made the most of the opportunity with Josh Grant getting a short pass away to Thompson Tuigamala who barrelled through Parramatta’s back line and dived over to score under the posts. The try was easily converted right in front of the uprights to push out the Panthers lead to 22-12.
Soon after that, the Eels forced a goal line dropout from the Panthers and after a below average kick off, they took full advantage and sent Dylan Izzard into some open space and over the line. Their conversion was off target again, so the score went to 22-16.
The Panthers found themselves on the back foot once again after with a 30m run from Parramatta’s fullback before he handed the ball to Bevan French, who drove up the centre of the park and crashed over under the uprights. The conversion put the Eels in front 24-22 with a few minutes on the clock.
Just when the game looked all but over, the Panthers regrouped and after a quick pass from the short side, big Oliver Clark slammed the ball down over the line to deliver the home side a 4 point win!
FULL TIME: 28-24 Panthers