Nathan Smith reviews Parramatta’s defeat of the Penrith Panthers. Here’s how the game went.
|21st||Try Brian To’o (Penrith)||Penrith 4-0|
|36th||Try Josh Mansour (Penrith)||Penrith 8-0|
|38th||Goal Nathan Cleary (Penrith)||Penrith 10-0|
|61st||Try Waqa Blake (Parramatta)||Penrith 10-4|
|64th||Try Clinton Gutherson (Parramatta)||Penrith 10-8|
|65th||Goal Mitchell Moses (Parramatta)||Parramatta 10-10|
|67th||Try Ryan Matterson (Parramatta)||Parramatta14-10|
|68th||Goal Mitchell Moses (Parramatta)||Parramatta 16-10|
The first half was a frantically paced affair, with both sides going end-to-end with little stoppage. Though Parramatta held a fair amount of possession in the opening 10 minutes, Penrith would swiftly seize control and score in the 21st minute. They dominated the remaining portion of the half, emphasising it with a try at the 36th minute. They walked to the sheds ahead 10-0.
For the opening 20 of the second half, the game was tight, even, and anyone’s to grasp. One had the sense that another Panthers try would seal it; however, they would instead concede first in the 61st minute courtesy of Waqa Blake. In the next few minutes, the Eels would pile on tries to Clint Gutherson and Ryan Matterson to steal a victory and make it their best start since 1986 at 5-0.
The highlight is hard to pin down; however, the forwards battle rates up there. Both sides were aggressive and at each other’s throats. The sight of James Fisher-Harris being lifted sent Eels fans wild. Penrith’s forwards responded. It was a beautiful contest of the big men in a game that is getting increasingly fast for them.
Parramatta Eels: 1 Clint Gutherson 2 Maika Sivo 3 Michael Jennings 4 Waqa Blake 5 Blake Ferguson 6 Dylan Brown 7 Mitchell Moses 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9 Reed Mahoney 10 Junior Paulo 11 Shaun Lane 12 Ryan Matterson 13 Nathan Brown. Interchange: 14 Ray Stone 15 Marata Niokure 16 Kane Evans 17 Peni Terepo.
Penrith Panthers: 1 Caleb Aekins 2 Josh Mansour 3 Dean Whare 4 Stephen Crichton 5 Brian To’o 6 Jarome Luai 7 Nathan Cleary 8 James Tamou 9 Apisai Koroisau 10 James Fisher-Harris 11 Viliame Kikau 12 Kurt Capewell 13 Isaah Yeo. Interchange: 14 Matt Burton 15 Zane Tetevano 16 Moses Leota 17 Liam Martin.