Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
Fulltime score: Round 4 Parramatta Eels 26 vs Penrith Panthers 16
The Eels led 18-6 at half time, thanks to tries to Ashley Graham, Mark Riddell and PJ Marsh, while the Panthers solitary try came through Rhys Wesser from dummy half.
PJ Marsh collected his second try just after half time with poor marker defence from the Panthers to blame. The Panthers then launched a comeback, as they limited the Eels to not having the ball inside the Penrith half for a 15 minute period. Despite this, the only player who looked dangerous was Wesser, and he collected his second try with a burst from the 40 metre line. Tony Puletua scored with nine minutes to go, reducing the margin to 8, when Preston Campbell missed the difficult conversion. The Eels finally got into the Panthers half off the back of a penalty, and duly collected a penalty goal to seal the match and the win.
The Panthers only had themselves to blame for losing, throwing poor passes when they were in good position, and other silly errors.
Score details: Scorers: EELS 26 Tries: Marsh 2, Graham, Riddell Goals: Burt 5 PANTHERS 16 Tries: Wesser 2, Puletua Goals: Campbell 2 Half time: 18-6 Parramatta Stadium, Crowd: Referee: Paul Simpkins
By the clock: 0 min: Kickoff at a cool, dry Parramatta Stadium for the western derby. Eels to get first possession.
3 min: NEWS - Burt loses the ball short of the line after the Eels get good field position from Campbell kicking out on the full.
6 min: TRY - Eels Graham scores off a kick from Tim Smith exposing a huge overlap. Video Referee Graeme West awards the Try. Burt converts. 6-0 Eels.
10 min: NEWS - Wagon is put on report for lifting a player over the horizontal.
15 min: NEWS - Donato sent to the blood bin for a nasty cut to the melon. Panthers penalty, they get the ball on the Eels 40.
17 min: TRY - Eels Riddell scores from dummy half under the posts, following a great set after the Panthers drop the ball. Burt converts. 12-0 Eels.
19 min: NEWS - Panthers very sloppy. Riddell is penalised for an incorrect play the ball, Penrith go backwards from the penalty. Campbell is taken out from his kick, Panthers on the attack still.
20 min: TRY - Panthers Wesser scores from dummy half following the above mentioned penalty. Converted by Campbell from right in front. 12-6 Eels.
25 min: NEWS - Gower puts in a great kick in from dummy half. Ruled to have been touched in flight scrum to Panthers on attack from the 10. Panthers however, drop the ball.
30 min: NEWS - Currently a drop-a-thon. Panthers drop the ball working out from their 20, only for the Eels to drop in on tackle 2. Eels looking the more likely team.
33 min: TRY - Eels Graham busts down the right side off a good ball from Morris, gets a one handed pass on the inside to Marsh who scores under the uprights. Converted again by Burt. 18-6 Eels.
35 min: NEWS - Eels hoist a sloppy bomb that is recovered, they break again down the right. Panthers saved by Grothe dropping the miracle ball 10 out.
40 min: HALF TIME - Eels by far the more dominant team. Stats are very even, Panthers winning the penalty count 5-4, one more handling error than the Eels. Nine more mistackles is where the difference is. Possession remains very even, Panthers just have their noses in front. Basically, the stats don't represent the scoreline. Donato still having his cut treated. Hasn't returned since he came off, Glenn Morrison has made an impressive 29 tackles.
Kickoff in the second half, Panthers with the first possession. Donato has returned now, with 18 stitches.
45 min: NEWS - Panthers penalised for obstruction. Marched another 10 for backchat. Eels in good field position.
46 min: TRY - Eels PJ Marsh runs from dummy half as the Panthers markers seem to be defending in another game and scores under the posts. Burt converts. 24-6 Eels.
50 min: NEWS - Panthers about to get their third set on the Eels line as they force a line drop out. However, another Panthers error takes the pressure off.
56 min: TRY - Panthers Wesser scores after he throws the smallest of dummies, Riddell misses the tackle and runs he 40 metres to score out wide. Campbell converts from out wide. 24-12 Eels.
60 min: NEWS - Panthers coming back with a vengence, Morris penalised for a high tackle on Wesser, gives the Panthers good field position again. Wesser is denied his third by the video, he is adjudged to have been held up in goal.
65 min: NEWS - Panthers are looking very strong. Eels are constantly kicking to Wesser, and can't make metres, which gives Wesser and the Panthers great position. Panthers are running everywhere at the moment.
71 min: TRY - Panthers Puletua scores from a Pritchard offload, dragging a number of players across the line. Campbell misses the conversion from out wide. All a result of pressure, Eels haven't had the ball in the Panthers half in 10 minutes. 24-16 Eels.
77 min: PENALTY GOAL - Eels Panthers penalised for slowing the play the ball down. Burt takes a week to kick the goal, Eels out by 10. 26-16 Eels.
80 min: FULL TIME Eels record their first win over the Panthers since 2002. Despite the Panthers piling on the pressure in the second half, the Eels defence didn't buckle horribly.
Eels win, 26-16. Half time 18-6.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - N Hindmarsh (Eels) 2 - PJ Marsh (Eels) 1 - G Morrison (Eels) -----------------------------------------