Penrith have taken the battle of the west tonight with a thorough 38-12 victory over a disjointed Parramatta side in front of 19,141 fans at Penrith Park tonight.
Both Parramatta and Penrith came into tonight in the top four - a rare feat, as both sides have never met each other while sitting in such a privileged position. The fans responded with a bulging crowd of 19,141 Western Sydney rugby league fans who were entertained with some sparkling football from the mountain men.
The barrage almost started in the opening thirty seconds, as the Eels forced a back-line movement that was spilled. Penrith weren't able to convert but they didn't have to wait long for points. Josh Mansour snuck under the guard of Ken Sio to get the opening points of first half onslaught.
It quietened down after the sugar high of the opening five minutes. Penrith though, once they got a sniff thanks to the constant errors from a Parramatta side that was stunted in their attack tonight. Every pass that looked promising hit the ground, good defensive sets were beguiled by penalties.
Parramatta invited the Panthers into their half with the warmth of a well regarded neighbour and the 3rd placed side weren't one to knock back this goodwill. James Segeyaro with a typical effort crossed in the 25th after a gap opened from the markers after he knocked on a similar dart in the opening 20.
A penalty goal from the resurgent Soward who's kicking game was strong all night including five goals and two try-assists from the boot. The five-eighth would add an effort that reminded everyone why he was labelled the "fastest man over 40 metres" to send the locals into party mode just before the full-time whistle.
This Panthers team has some speed to burn including the back row, as Tyrone Peachey showed a turn of speed in his two try salvo either side of the half-time whistle. His first was a simple sprint from an adventurous Wallace chip inside him own half found it's way to the second-rower. The second was all Peachey - he bumped, spun and out-paced the Eels chasers to put the mountain men ahead by 24.
Many critics had derided Gus Gould's five year plan, as nonsense but the proof was in the pudding of the 17 that took the field tonight. It included several youngsters from the Panthers NYC squad - Cartwright, Moylan and Yeo, exciting talent from the league including two try hero Peachey and impressive halves in Wallace and Soward.
One of the youngsters mentioned the previous paragraph Yeo, put the result beyond doubt with his 59th minute effort off a simple line run, as he was too strong for his opposite number. Penrith were leading 30-nil and looking to pile on the misery on a disjointed Eels line-up.
There was some brief respite for the Eels, as Manu Ma'u and Corey Norman crossed in a ten minute period after the hour mark to give the scoreboard an air of respectability at 30 points to 12. Josh Mansour joined Tyrone Peachey with a brace as he positioned himself perfectly from a Soward bomb.
Penrith with the 38-12 win, won back to back games for the first time in 2014 to climb into third position on the ladder. Next week they travel to Queensland to face the sputtering Titans while Parramatta also play Queensland opposition - North Queensland but at Pirtek Stadium which has become a fortress for the blue and golds.