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Panthers suffer first loss of the season

The Panthers NSW Cup side fell to a 22-16 defeat to Parramatta Eels at CommBank Stadium on Thursday night.

Both teams started the game with a handful of errors, however soon found their feet playing set for set football as the rain started to fall.

The Panthers built plenty of early pressure on the back of a penalty and Eels error and it was prop forward Eddie Blacker who capitalised, busting through the Eels defensive line to score the first four pointer of the day.

Five-eighth Kurt Falls extended the lead to six points, converting Blacker’s try.

The Eels hit back through a cut-out pass from halfback Jake Arthur, firing a cut-out pass to winger Haze Dunster who crossed over in the corner.

Eels captain Jordan Rankin’s conversion attempt hit the post, leaving the Panthers with a 6-4 lead.

The Panthers extended their lead quickly after the Eels try, working their way into Eels territory before a set play saw the ball quickly shifted out to the left, sending winger Tom Jenkins over the line for his first try of the day.

Falls’ conversion from the sideline was on target, taking the lead out to 12-4.

Back-to-back penalties just before half-time presented the Panthers with another opportunity to strike, however a forward pass from centre Jack Cole denied the Panthers their third try on the night.


The Eels started the second half strong, marching their way down the field to find themselves only 10 metres from Penrith’s try line.

Fancy footwork saw Eels hooker Mitch Rein step past two Panthers players, which created the space needed for him to score next to the posts.

Rankin’s second conversion of the night was successful bringing the score to 12-10.

Parramatta received three repeat sets off the back of their try, giving them perfect field position in attack. The Eels took the lead in the 50th minute, with fullback Arthur Miller-Stephen scoring off a perfectly weighted grubber kick.

Rankin successfully converted the fullback’s try, extending the Eels lead out to four points.

The Eels continued to pile on the points, with Miller-Stephen kicking the ball through for winger Joshuah Minhinnick to score Parramatta’s fourth try. Rankin’s conversion was successful, taking the score to 22-12 in the 57th minute of the game.

Panthers second-rower Chris Smith was taken off the field with 15 minutes to go with an ankle complaint. He did not return to the field for the remainder of the game.

The visitors struggled to find momentum with ball in hand and it wasn’t until the final five minutes of the game that saw them trouble the scorers.

Rushed defence from the Eels saw space open out on the left wing, leaving the line open for Jenkins to cross over for his second four-pointer of the day.

Falls’ conversion fell short leaving the visitors trailing by six points.

Penrith looked threatening in attack in the dying moments of the game, however it was not enough for the mountain men to steal the win.


Acknowledgement of Country

Penrith Panthers players and staff respect and honour the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.