Just twelve days from the kick-off to the NRL season, Parramatta Eels have kept the Penrith Panthers scoreless in recording a 20-0 victory at Panthers Stadium.
With the help of a generous penalty count and field position in the first half, the Eels were continuously camped inside the Panthers twenty.
It took twenty-five minutes before George Jennings cracked the Panthers defence open for the only first-half try.
Fatigue and the resting of key Panthers players in the second half gave Parramatta the confidence and momentum.
The Eels tries went the way of Peni Terepo, Shaun Lane and Maika Sivo. James Fisher-Harris had the best chance of the night, only to be caught short by some desperate Eels defence.
James Maloney was sent to the sin bin for general discipline. The slow walk off will not be tolerated under the new rules to come in effect for this year’s season.
The Eels victory was soured by a knee injury to Manu Ma’u.
Both sides will play on the opening Sunday of this year’s competition.
In Maitland, two other round one opponents faced off. Matt Moylan showed how potent he will be at fullback as Cronulla Sharks proved too good for the Newcastle Knights 30-6.
He set up a try for Josh Dugan to open the scoring. It would be one of Dugan’s only contributions for the game after leaving the field concussed midway through the first-half.
Where the Sharks excelled in attack, the Knights were opposite with a lack of ball control on their opponents line. Kalyn Ponga showed glimpses of how good he will be playing up in the line even though Cronulla defended their line well.
On the Gold Coast, the Titans surrendered a good 18-0 lead to go down to the Broncos 25-22 at CBUS Super Stadium.
In the Community Cup at Gosford, Manly Sea Eagles proved too strong for the defending premiers Sydney Roosters 38-20.
The North Queensland Cowboys ran out 14-6 winners over the Melbourne Storm in Mackay .