Panthers get defensive work-out in defeat

The Panthers were strangled by penalties in a 20-0 trial loss to Parramatta Eels at Panthers Stadium on Saturday.

Penrith never quite got an opportunity to blow off the cobwebs in the trial match, as a hefty penalty count in the Eels’ favour and a James Maloney sin-binning condemned the Panthers to defeat.

The Panthers first genuine chance came in the 17th minute when James Maloney got the ball away to a hole-hitting Jack Hetherington close to the try line, but the young forward was unable to hang onto the football.

The Eels broke the deadlock in the 25th minute when Clint Gutherson basketball passed to George Jennings, who dived in the corner. Mitchell Moses failed to convert, and it remained 4-0.

Malakai Watene-Zelezniak left the field shortly before halftime with a head cut, as Jennings’ try proved to be the only points to come from a rather uneventful first half.

HALF-TIME: EELS 4 - PANTHERS 0

The Eels bagged their second try in the 47th minute when Peni Terepo latched onto a Mitchell Moses inside ball and dashed away to the try line. Moses knocked over the goal to stretch the Eels lead to 10-0.

Dylan Brown slipped through the defence in the 51st minute and would have scored if not for a desperate tackle by James Maloney. However, Maloney held onto the five-eighth for too long and was sent to the sin bin.

The Eels made quick work of punishing the Panthers undermanned right edge, with Shaun Lane touching down. Moses slotted the goal, giving the Eels a comfortable 16-point lead.

It wasn’t until the 60th minute that the Panthers had their first opportunity to test the Eels goal-line defence, but the situation culminated in an Eels counter attack.

The Eels put the result beyond doubt in the 67th minute when Manu Ma’u created an overlap on the left, allowing Maika Sivo to score in the corner. Moses’ conversion attempt was unsuccessful, and it remained 20-0.

The Panthers almost scored a late consolation when Sione Katoa gave James Fisher-Harris a clear path to the try line, but the lock was cut down short of the try line, and it ended in a 20-point win for the Eels.

FULL-TIME: EELS 20 - PANTHERS 0