A second half blitz from the Panthers SG Ball side saw them record a 42-14 win against Parramatta Eels at St Marys Leagues Stadium on Saturday.
The victory ended Parramatta’s unbeaten start to 2018 and elevated the Panthers to the top of the SG Ball ladder.
After escaping an Eels-dominated first half with a two-point lead, the Panthers produced a second half clinic to win by 28 points as halfback Hayden Bonanno and centre James Taufetee each crossed for a double, while centre Matthew Faauila, hooker Maurice Trindall and winger Ethan Clark-Wood also bagged tries.
Trindall was impressive with the boot for Panthers, kicking a 40/20 and setting up two tries with kicks, as was winger Stephen Crichton who kicked seven goals from seven attempts.
After an early exchange of errors and penalties, the Panthers opened the scoring as winger Stephen Crichton brushed off several Parramatta defenders on the right wing before finding Faauila in support, who linked up with Bonnano to send the halfback over the line. Crichton’s successful conversion gave the Panthers a 6-0 lead after 10 minutes.
The Panthers had several opportunities to extend their lead as Faauila, fullback Charlie Staines and five-eighth Matt Burton all made plays for the try line, however Parramatta’s goal line defence refused to give in as the Eels remained within touching distance of Penrith.
Parramatta would be rewarded for their defensive efforts in the 18th minute, with Charbel Tasipale picking up a loose ball and crashing over the line on the back of a powerful run by Samuel Hughes. Kyle Schenider sent his conversion attempt wide, leaving the Panthers ahead by two points.
The Panthers would let that lead slip in the 25th minute as William Kei scored on the left wing at the end of a backline shift. Schneider converted from out wide to send the Eels into a 10-6 lead.
A late penalty gave the Panthers another attacking opportunity in the 39th minute which was taken with both hands as Matt Burton sent James Taufetee over the try line with slick cut-out pass. Crichton kicked the conversion from out wide to send the Panthers into the sheds with a two-point lead.
HALF-TIME - PANTHERS 12-10 EELS
The Panthers opened proceedings in the second stanza in spectacular fashion, with an inside ball by Bonanno sending Staines into open space, and the fullback found Faauila in support to put the centre over the try line for Penrith’s third of the afternoon. Crichton extended the lead to 18-10 with a pinpoint conversion in the 37th minute.
A penalty conceded by the Eels allowed the Panthers return to attacking territory and Maurice Trindall pounced on his own deflected grubber to score in the 44th minute. Another successful conversion by Crichton took the Panthers out to a 24-10 lead.
Shortly after prop Joe Hobby was stretchered off with a leg injury, the Eels looked to add to Penrith’s woes with an assault on the try line. Despite some bone-rattling defence by second rower Shawn Blore, the Eels would touch down as Kei muscled over for his second of the afternoon. Schneider was unsuccessful with the boot, with the score remaining 24-14 after 50 minutes.
The Panthers were quick respond with Burton sending Taufetee over for his double with a well-weighted short ball after a Parramatta error on their own try line. Crichton kept his perfect record intact from the touchline to stretch Penrith’s lead to 30-14 in the 53rd minute.
Trindall’s kicking game from dummy half continued to pay dividends for the Panthers in the 62nd minute, with the hooker poking the ball in behind Parramatta’s goal line defence for Bonnano to score. A sixth consecutive conversion by Crichton gave the Panthers a 22-point advantage.
Trindall again punished the Eels with the boot, catching out Parramatta’s back three with a 40/20 to put the Panthers back onto the attack. Penrith continued to pile the points on their western Sydney rivals, with Staines sending a long ball to Ethan Clark-Wood, who did well to reach out and plant the ball down in the corner.
Another sideline conversion from Crichton capped off an excellent display of goal-kicking as the Panthers wrapped up a comfortable 28-point win over their western Sydney rivals.
FULL-TIME - PANTHERS 42-14 EELS