The Panthers turned in a brave defensive effort to defeat Parramatta Eels 12-6 at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
In a match that could best be described as a war of attrition, the Panthers showed enough grit and scramble to overcome an enthusiastic Eels effort.
Panthers playmaker James Maloney knocked over a penalty goal in the 5th minute to open the scoring.
However an error immediately from the restart by Dylan Edwards put the Panthers on the back foot. Moments later Trent Merrin was sent to the sin bin for grabbing Kaysa Pritchard from an offside position.
The Panthers scrambled well with 12 men to hold the Eels out on a number of occasions before Merrin returned to the action.
The favour was returned on Parramatta in the 20th minute as Tyrone Peachey took a quick tap and Eels prop Tim Mannah was sin-binned for a professional foul.
From the next set, a pinpoint cross-field kick from Maloney landed in the lap of winger Josh Mansour to score. The playmaker then slotted the conversion from out wide to give the Panthers an 8-0 lead.
Five minutes before the break Maloney dived over the try line but the video referee ruled an obstruction and awarded a penalty to Parramatta.
The Panthers finished the first half the way they started it – a penalty goal to Maloney to stretch their lead to ten points.
HALF-TIME – Panthers 10 – 0 Eels
It was the Eels who struck first after the break as a grubber from Mitch Moses was fumbled by the Panthers and winger George Jennings was on hand to score. Moses knocked the conversion over to make the score 10-6 in the 45th minute.
Defence dominated attack as the game wore on, with the Panthers bravely turning up time and time again to hold Parramatta out.
Panthers centre Waqa Blake departed the contest with 11 minutes to play after suffering an ankle injury.
Maloney kicked another penalty in the final minute to increase the Panthers lead and they held on.
FULL-TIME - Panthers 12 - 6 Eels