The Penrith Panthers Jersey Flegg season is over, going down 30-20 to the Parramatta Eels at North Sydney Oval in the elimination final.
The Panthers had led 12-0 at one stage, however they suffered their second loss to the Eels in eight days and bow out of the competition with their fourth-straight defeat.
The Panthers found themselves under pressure early following a number of penalties, however strong defence forced a number of errors from the Eels.
An Eels error from a Panthers grubber finally gave the Panthers the field position they needed in the 14th minute. From the ensuing scrum, they shifted right to Sam Lane, who spun through the defence to score the opening try. Timothy Sielaff-Burns converted from out wide to take a 6-0 lead.
A strong set following points ended with Sielaff-Burns forcing a drop out with a grubber, giving the Panthers a golden opportunity to extend their lead. They did exactly that when Peter Taateo barged over next to the posts, with Sielaff-Burns converting to extend the lead to 12-0.
The Panthers were made to pay immediately for an error in the set following points, with Ethan Sanders scoring out wide. He converted his try to reduce the Panthers lead to 12-6.
A deflection from a kick nearly brought the Eels second try on the half-hour mark, only prevented by a great tackle by Sielaff-Burns and Liam Ison. The Panthers could only hang on for two more tackles though, as Sam Tuivaiti crashed over next to the posts. Sanders converted to level the scores at 12-all.
An error deep down their own end in the final seconds of the half put the Panthers under pressure once again, with Blaize Talagi scoring a simple try on the siren. Sanders converted again, giving the Eels an 18-12 half time lead.
The Panthers came close to hitting back a minute into the second half, with an ankle tap stopping Angelis Hotere-Papalii from crossing in the corner.
Down the other end, the Eels extended their lead to 12 as Brock Parker crashed over under the posts following a penalty.
The Panthers hit back in the 47th minute when Liam Hanson put a little chip over the top which bounced kindly for Harrison Hassett to score and reduce the deficit to eight.
Matthew Komolafe put the game all but out of reach when he scored after back-to-back Panthers errors with ten minutes remaining, with Sanders converting from the sideline to extend the margin to 30-16.
The Panthers kept their faint hopes of a comeback alive when Riley Wake scored out wide following a quick play the ball, however Joseph Nohra’s conversion attempt bounced away off the upright to keep the score at 30-20.
The Panthers continued to desperately search for more points, only for the Eels to have an answer at every turn, bringing their season to an end.