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Young stars shine as Panthers demolish Parramatta

The Panthers NSW Cup side blew the Parramatta Eels off the park in a 40-0 trial match thumping at Panthers Stadium on Saturday.

Featuring a host of NRL-contracted players, the Panthers put Parramatta to the sword in a ruthless performance that will give coach Peter Wallace plenty to smile about heading into the 2021 NSW Cup season.

Halves Jaeman Salmon and Kurt Falls had the ball on a string at times, while damaging second rower John Faiumu was a nightmare for the Eels edge defence.

Young fullback Sunia Turuva was another standout, scoring two tries and assisting another.

He was joined on the scoresheet by Salmon, Faiumu, Thomas Jenkins, Alec Susino and Brendan Hands.

Having had no luck with some deft kicks to the in-goal through the early stages, Panthers five-eighth Jaeman Salmon took a more direct route to open the scoring in the 12th minute.

After some crafty work out of dummy half by Mitch Kenny, Salmon spotted a gap in the Eels goal-line defence and squirmed his way through to plant the ball down. Halfback Kurt Falls converted, pushing the Panthers ahead 6-0.

A second try came soon after, as Falls provided a short ball for second-rower John Faiumu to dive over on the edge. Another two points off the boot of Falls extended the Panthers lead to 12 points after 22 minutes.

The Eels looked certain to pull one back when centre Will Penisini muscled his way over the try line, but the Panthers right edge scrambled to keep the ball from finding the turf.

A 40/20 by Falls put the Panthers back on the attack, and a third try came shortly after.

Young fullback Sunia Turuva received the ball in a sweeping backline play, and he weaved his way through the Eels edge defence before sending winger Thomas Jenkins over out wide.

Falls maintained his 100 per cent conversion rate with another pinpoint kick from the sideline.

Shortly before the break, try-scorer Jenkins showed his defensive prowess as he laid a bruising hit on Eels big man Ellie El Zakhem, forcing a knock on just as Parramatta looked threatening in attack.

HALF-TIME: PANTHERS 18 – EELS 0

After absorbing some more pressure from the Eels early in the second half, the Panthers continued to pile on the points with a gorgeous long-range try in the 46th minute.

An attack down the short side saw Izack Tago break away out wide, and the centre found support in Sunia Turuva. The young fullback strolled over the try line, and gave Falls the simple task of converting for 24-0.

Jaeman Salmon continued to torment the Eels defence as he set up a pair of try-scoring opportunities in consecutive plays, but his teammates could not apply the finishing touch.

Another sure try for the Eels was shut down by some desperate Panthers defence, as the ball was forced loose from Dylan Clifford over the stripe.

Taylan May flaunted his fancy footwork in an attempt to get to the try line in the second half, but he was cruelly chopped down by the Eels defence at the last.

The Panthers’ fifth try finally came in the 73rd minute, as a routine shift out wide saw Salmon send Turuva over for his double. Falls was cruelly denied another two points, as his conversion attempt struck the upright in his first miss of the afternoon.

The Panthers still nowhere near done, piling on another two tries in the final few minutes before full-time, with Brendan Hands at the heart of both.

Playing hooker, Hands sent prop Alec Susino crashing over the line from short range for the Panthers’ sixth try.

Hands then bagged a try for himself, chasing down a grubber by Thomas Jenkins following a line break by the winger.

And with two conversions from Hands on top of that, it ended in a 40-point triumph for the merciless Panthers.

FULL-TIME: PANTHERS 40 – EELS 0