The NYC Panthers put on a commanding display to dismantle Parramatta 42-12 at Pepper Stadium on Saturday.
A dominant first half that saw Penrith score 22 unanswered points set up the victory.
The Panthers defused an early high ball from Parramatta’s first set to start things off on the right foot before themselves testing the Parramatta backline with a bomb of their own.
Penrith earned a penalty in the 6th minute and made the most of it to open the scoring. Jarome Luai with a neat grubber that the Eels backline didn’t get a hold of with second-rower Reed Izzard jumping on the ball to secure the first try of the match. Nathan Cleary converted from the far right to make it 6-0 to the Panthers.
Four consecutive sets of six to Penrith following Izzard’s try saw them put even more pressure on the Eel’s defence who were able to stand strong and force a Panthers knock on in the 12th minute.
Parramatta then picked up consecutive sets of their own in Penrith’s 20 and despite being held up twice over the line couldn’t find a try with the Panthers showing real grit in defence.
Rob Jennings then turned the last few minutes of play on its head as the Panthers went on the attack. Jennings showed quick feet and strength to shrug of a few defenders and grab Penrith’s second try down the right side. Cleary couldn’t convert but the Panthers still extended their lead to make it 10-0 in the 30th minute.
Parramatta should’ve responded minutes later after picking up repeat sets but a knock on allowed the Penrith try line to remain intact.
And it was the Panthers who were showing how it’s done in attack too with Jack Nelson adding a third try in the 35th minute as the centre crossed down the left. With the Eels line stretched, Nelson dummied, took on his man and found his way to the try-line. Cleary successfully converted to make it 16-0 to Penrith.
With a minute to play of the half, the Panthers continued to show their potency in attack with Luai again putting in a grubber that Cleary picked up and showed great reflexes to pass back to Luai on the inside who crossed over under the posts untouched. Cleary made no mistake of the conversion to give the Panthers a 22-0 lead at the break.
HALFTIME- Panthers 22-0
The Eels started the half strongly after picking up a penalty in the 42nd minute and once again found themselves held up over the line with the Panthers refusing to let their try-line be broken.
It was the Panthers that were showing a real hunger for the try line as Ratu Tuisese showed great speed and determination down the right wing, beating two Parramatta defenders to add another Penrith try minutes later. Cleary’s conversion missed just to the left with the Panthers now leading 26-0.
Tuisese was showing how dangerous he can be with the ball when in the 52nd minute he broke a tackle and made a barging run only for an eventual flick pass ruled to go forward.
Parramatta finally opened their scoring in the 55th minute through Tom Field who muscled his way over the line. Michael Doolan converted to make it 26-6 Penrith.
In the 58th minute a bounce from a sideways Liam Martin kick bounced kindly for Kaide Ellis who showed pace and a nice step to beat the Eels fullback and nab another Penrith try. Cleary converted to extend the Panthers’ led to 32-6.
Back to back penalties fell Parramatta’s way and they crossed for their second try in the 66th minute through Dean Matterson who rolled over his tackler to cross over to the right of the goal posts. The conversion from Doolan was successful to narrow Penrith’s lead to 32-12.
But it was the Panthers who were to have the final say with a grubber from Soni Luke fumbled by the Eels with Liam Martin able to pick up and stroll over for a Penrith try. Conversion successful from Dylan Edwards to make it 38-12 to the Panthers.
Tuisese then added the icing to a dominant display in the 79th minute with the winger again proving too quick and strong for the Parramatta defence to score his second try.
FULLTIME- Panthers 42-12