“Have you ever seen a mauling”
That’s Ray Warren’s comment as the full-time siren went with Penrith having played their best football of the season in mauling Parramatta 38-12 at SportingBet Stadium.
It was a perfect night for the club on so many levels. A sea of black jumpers filled the stands with the biggest season crowd of 19,141 were given plenty of reasons why they should come back, as the Panthers piled on seven tries to two in a dominant display.
Both teams faced disruptions heading into the game with Parramatta’s headline act Jarryd Hayne rested on medical grounds, and Jamal Idris was stood down from the Panthers as he faces some health issues. Tim Grant and Adam Docker also missed the game through injury. Bryce Cartwright, nephew of Titans coach John, was given his first chance to play in the top grade.
The Eels struggled from kick-off as they spilled the ball in the early exchanges. In a ten minute period they struggled to finish a set of six. Penrith made them pay with Josh Mansour placing the ball down before the dead ball line after five minutes of play to open the scoring. Parramatta’s best first half chance coming from Semi Radradra at the ten minute mark who put on the afterburners down the left wing as he beat tackle after tackle before being brought down.
Penrith’s plan was clear. Catch the Eels napping with the inside ball and for long periods of the first half the Panthers troubled their opponents. The sustained pressure was rewarded with James Segeyaro’s run from dummy half close to the line giving the Panthers a ten point advantage.
Five minutes later Matt Moylan chased a Jamie Soward kick through with the fullback getting to the ball first, before being tackled high by Hayne’s replacement Justin Hunt. A penalty conversion followed from Soward. Penrith would get their third of the evening not too long after when a clever kick over the top by Wallace was fumbled by the Eels. A gem of a pass from Elijah Taylor saw Tyrone Peachey cross for his first try in Panther colours. The home side leading 18-0 going into the break.
Parramatta needed to respond and they did to some extent in the early stages of the second half but with no result. Penrith got the vital first points with Peachey’s slicing run through the Eels right hand defense giving him a double. Isaah Yeo was too strong on the hour mark as the score hit thirty with the youngster scoring his first try in the NRL.
On a horrible night for Justin Hunt, he blundered a certain Eels try where the Panthers covering tackle did enough to make him drop the ball short of the line. Late tries to Pauli Pauli and an intercept to Corey Norman from a Brent Kite pass gave Eels fans something to cheer about.
But the night belonged to Penrith. Mansour’s double coming off a Soward kick gave Penrith it’s 20,000th point in first grade football. Soward then showed a clean pair of heals to cap off a wonderful night for the number six as the Panthers ensured they would finish no worse than third place on the table at the end of this round.
Injury concerns for both sides with Eels hooker Nathan Peats the biggest worry after a knee injury ended his night half way through the second half. Dean Whare went off the field with a corked knee for the Panthers.
A host of standouts for the Panthers with Tyrone Peachey, halves pairing Wallace and Soward, Matt Moylan and Josh Mansour dominating in victory. Penrith’s forward pack reversed the treatment they were dished out early in the season by their counterparts. For Parramatta Radradra tried hard but was well contained. Chris Sandow couldn’t get into the game at any stage. Tim Mannah was the Eels best up front.
PENRITH PANTHERS 38 (Tyrone Peachey 2, Josh Mansour 2, James Segeyaro, Isaah Yeo, Jamie Soward tries; Jamie Soward 4 goals) defeated PARRAMATTA EELS 12 (Pauli Pauli, Corey Norman tries; Chris Sandow 2 goals)
SAUCE PUTS ON A SHOW
What a night for Josh Mansour. Coming into the game you would have thought the most dominant winger for either side would have been Semi Radradra because of his sheer pace and strength. I think Sauce put on an exhibition of what a winger’s role is in the game. Fearless and determined in carting up the pill, Mansour had thirty-one possessions for 270 metres and capped it off with a double. Radradra was not in the same class. Fourteen possessions and 151 metres on a night where the Eels were carved up. Semi might be the beast but Mansour on tonight’s performance is a clear winner. Now it’s a short waiting game to see if Sauce moves to the Nations Capital in 2015.
BRYCE CARTWRIGHT CAN PLAY
The Cartwright name has been in the club since 1967. Merv Cartwright instrumental in setting up the club, his son’s going on to play for the Panthers with John becoming a club legend and representing at the highest level. Now it’s Bryce Cartwright’s turn to shine. Socks down, tall and lanky like his uncle and similarly developing a nice offload in traffic. In his limited game time tonight we saw glimpses of what Panther fans will see of this kid with a very bright future. His late grandad would have been proud of his achievement. Let’s not forget the contribution of Isaah Yeo as well. He looked very much like a first grade player tonight with a solid effort and crossing for his first try in the top grade. Great effort.
PLAY ENTERTAINING FOOTY AND THE CROWDS WILL BE BACK
Early in the season points were hard to come by as combinations hadn’t been given time to develop. There was a lot of criticism despite showing promising signs with some good wins that it could be the Achilles Heal in the Panthers season. With the team now averaging around thirty points in the last four matches and just conceding sixteen points a game this year, any concerns over the ability to score points appear over. We have the attack, we have the defense. Do we have the ticker to continue to win? Ivan’s smile at the end of the television interview says to me that he’s finally got this club back on it’s feet after a frustrating decade with limited success. Now it’s Queensland’s turn to show we’ve got support north of the border for the Panthers!
VALE MAL GOWER
Sad news at the end of the evening with Craig Gower’s father, Mal passing away after a battle of cancer. Mal was involved in the Penrith rugby league community and a very proud father. Our thoughts with Craig and his family at this sad time.