Panthers bundled out by Eels

The NYC Panthers have crashed out of the Holden Cup after going down to Parramatta Eels 28-6 in a Preliminary Final at Allianz Stadium.

The Panthers had their chances to control the contest in the first half but poor execution and defensive lapses allowed the Eels to claim a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

The Eels took advantage of a shaky start by the Panthers when they opened the scoring in the 7th minute through fullback Anthony Layoun. Dylan Brown slotted a simple conversion for a 6-0 lead.

But as has been so often the case in 2017, co-captain Wayde Egan sniffed out an opportunity close to the line to bring his side level in the 17th minute, following Dean Blore’s conversion to make it 6-all.

The Eels had their own strike-weapon thank in Greg Lelesiuao who blew the Panthers defence wide open to reclaim the lead at 10-6 midway through the half.

A flying mark from Panthers winger Daine Laurie almost drew them level moments later after leaping above his opposite man but his attempted grounding was fumbled.

HALF-TIME: Parramatta Eels 10 – 6 Penrith Panthers

An up-tempo start following the break from the hosts led to their third try in the 49th minute when Sione Fonua put the finishing touches to a sweeping move on the left edge. Brown’s sideline conversion edged the Eels further in front at 16-6.

Their margin should’ve been greater when Layoun was first to a grubber in the Panthers end-zone but his handling let him down as the opportunity went begging.

However, they wouldn’t be denied just shy of the hour mark when a 40/20 from Reed Mahoney put the Eels on the front foot. Denzal Tonise went over from the resulting set, before Brown’s conversion made the score 22-6.

Layoun stretched the lead further with his second of the game after a tap on from Brown found his fullback wide open in the 64th minute. Brown couldn’t convert as the score remained 26-6.

Egan came from the field with a head injury and Brown added a late penalty goal as the curtains came down on the Panthers’ season, however coach David Tangata-Toa can be proud of their efforts as they defied the odds to make it this deep in the year.

FULL-TIME: Parramatta Eels 28 – 6 Penrith Panthers