The Penrith Panthers completed an impressive second half comeback against a courageous Eels outfit to record a 22-18 victory on Sunday afternoon. The Eels lost another one of their star players, as representative centre Michael Jennings was forced from the field with a hamstring strain in the first half, with the ensuing re-shuffle causing a weakness in the Parramatta defensive line.
Eels Dropping Like Flies
With the Parramatta side already missing the likes of Kieran Foran, Corey Norman, Brad Takairangi and Semi Radradra, the sight of Michael Jennings limping off the field would have had blue and gold supporters cursing their luck. The dynamic centre was primed for a big game after scoring the match winning try for NSW on Wednesday night, however it was his absence that left the Eels prime for the picking. Penrith wisely targeted Beau Scott who was forced to slot into the right centre role, and the results were brilliant. Josh Mansour, Bryce Cartwright and Tyrone Peachy were all able to run through for tries on the left edge, giving their side a 22-18 lead in the process.
Mansour in Top Form
Penrith winger Josh Mansour backed up a strong Origin performance with a brilliant game on Sunday afternoon. The hulking back was unstoppable, running for 246 while amazingly busting 15 tackles. Mansour continued to cement his status as one of the best finishers in the game, crossing for a valuable try that put Penrith into the lead. If he continues with this form, the 26 year old can begin packing his bags for his spot on the Australian side for the end of year Four Nations.
Parramatta Full of Courage
Despite suffering through yet another week of off-field drama and turmoil, including the suspension of their star player Corey Norman, the Eels managed to turn in a performance that typified their season. Brad Arthur’s men could have been forgiven for struggling to compete with a close to full strength Penrith side, however the Eels hit the ground running, crossing for a try after just 90 seconds of play. The blue and gold continued to pile on points, heading into the half time break with an 18-6 lead. If it wasn’t for a forced re-shuffle due to a Michael Jennings injury, there is a very good chance that the Eels could have held on to win, despite all the odds being against them pre-game.
Penrith Far from Complete
Penrith were able to claim a valuable two points that will keep them in touch with the top eight, however against a depleted Eels side, the Panthers were far from convincing. The Panthers once again struggled to play for the full 80 minutes, as a slow start to the match almost put victory beyond reach. To their credit, coming back from a 18-6 deficit to record a 22-18 victory was a very impressive feat, however the Panthers will need to turn in far more complete performances in the run home if they are to sneak into the top eight.
In the Sheds
Parramatta Eels star Michael Jennings suffered a hamstring strain in the first half.
Tries:Campbell-Gillard, Peachey, Cartwright, Mansour
Goals: Cleary 3
Tries: Bevan French 2, Faraimo, Gutherson
Goals: Gordon 1