Panthers punish impotent Eels

There is nothing like a local derby to bring out the best in a sporting team. And tonight at Parramatta Stadium, the Penrith Panthers answered all their critics with a comprehensive 20-6 disposal of a disappointing Parramatta Eels in front of 15974 fans.

A slippery surface greeted both the Eels and Panthers, with Parramatta Stadium suffering an unexpected downpour in the minutes before the kick-off. The opening exchanges of the match emphasised this as both sides struggled to show any sort of composure while in possession of the ball. After just four minutes, the Panthers had the first opportunity of the match to post points, but some scrambling Eels defence thwarted some good ball movement by the Panthers. However, in the 8th minute, all the early field position and possession would finally be converted into points when David Simmons crossed out wide for Penrith. Lock Luke Lewis crabbed across-field, before linking up with Luke Walsh, whose pass to Michael Jennings found the centre in space. The NSW Origin representative drew the winger, sending Simmons on a saloon passage to the tryline. It was evident Parramatta were off their game and it took until halfway through the first half for the Eels to start to show some promise, as they completed their sets and got into some form of a groove. But in the 32nd minute, Lachlan Coote extended the Panthers lead. Sniffing around the middle of the ruck, Coote latched onto a perfectly timed double-pump pass off halfback Walsh to cross untouched out wide. Michael Gordon's unsuccessful conversion attempt saw the Panthers hold an important 10-0 lead, which would stay that way until the halftime break.

It wouldn't take long for the Panthers to sniff out any hopes of an Eels revival in the second half. With the Parramatta side throwing the ball around and playing catch-up football, a loose Jarryd Hayne pass was scooped up by Penrith winger Michael Gordon in the 46th minute. Gordon raced 60 metres untouched to extend the Panthers lead out to an almost unassailable 16-0 margin. Gordon's 51st and 54th minute penalty goals ensured the Panthers would go even further in front. Jarryd Hayne set up the Eels only try of the match in the 74th minute. Hayne went to first receiver on the fifth tackle, before drawing two defenders and finding hooker Matt Keating who dived underneath some desperate Penrith defence to score the Eels first and only try of the night.

Next week, the Eels tackle the Rabbitohs on Friday night, while the Panthers host Cronulla at Centrebet Stadium next Saturday evening.

Match Details
Parramatta Eels 6 were defeated by Penrith Panthers 20
National Rugby League - Round 2 - Friday March 18, 2011 7:45pm
Venue: Parramatta Stadium
Referee: Shayne Hayne and Gerard Sutton
Video Referee: Paul Simpkins
Touch Judges: Jeff Younis and Ricky MacFarlane
Crowd: 15974
Halftime: Parramatta Eels 0 Penrith Panthers 10 players of the match:
3 Points - Luke Walsh
2 Points - Petero Civoniceva
1 Point - Lachlan Coote (1 Try)

Tries: Matt Keating
Conversions: Luke Burt (1/1)

Tries: David Simmons, Michael Gordon, Lachlan Coote
Conversions: Michael Gordon (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Michael Gordon (2/2) Live Commentary And a very good evening and welcome to Parramatta Stadium for tonight's Round 2 encounter between the Parramatta Eels and Penrith Panthers. Last week, the Eels were clinical in their disposal of the Warriors across the Tasman, while the Panthers were diabolical in the western sydney heat last Sunday. Tonight's match gives the Eels a chance to improve on last week's effort, and for the Panthers, it is their chance to put last week's performance down to an aberration.
In team news, just the one change for the Parramatta side. In jumper #18, Chris Hicks replaces winger Etu Uaisele. Penrith will be as per program. Kick off is scheduled for a little after 7.35pm. Join me then!
In the Toyota Cup curtain raiser, the Panthers registered first points in this west-Sydney derby, running out victors 26-16 in what they will hope is an omen for the first grade side.
1 min: And we're underway! The Eels defend the southern end of Parramatta Stadium and will have first use of the ball.
4 min: Some quality attacking play from the Panthers is nullified from some good goal-line defence by the Eels. The Eels will now work the ball out of their own end.
6 min: Walsh's fifth tackle option is disappointing, with the Eels defence racing up and putting some pressure on the halfback.
7 min: Knock on Eels. The Panthers with another chance at posting first points.
8 min: TRY
TRY Penrith Panthers
Scored by David Simmons. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful.
The Panthers open the scoring! Lewis, Walsh and Jennings all combine to send Simmons over in the corner and the Panthers finally take advantage of their early ball possession.
Penrith Panthers 6-0
17 min: Parramatta a bit all over the shop so far tonight - struggling to find a rhythm. Penrith are completing their sets and minimising errors. Mitchell Allgood is off the field for Parramatta.
22 min: Parramatta out of trouble a bit, a penalty against Waterhouse for laying around a little too long in the tackle. They'll move into the opposition half now.
24 min: Fifth tackle Jarryd Hayne kick bounces out over the sideline. 25 gone, Penrith retain the lead 6-0.
27 min: Parramatta beginning to settle into a bit of a groove in the last few sets and they start to work their way back into the encounter.
29 min: The Panthers throw the ball around and Jennings finds himself in space! His pass back on the inside finds Simmons, but the subsequent pass is knocked down by Hayne. Parramatta ball.
31 min: PENALTY Penrith. McGuire hanging around the ruck too long.
32 min: TRY
TRY Penrith Panthers
Scored by Lachlan Coote. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon unsuccessful.
And the Panthers extend their lead! Walsh sends Coote over out wide. The halfback drew two defenders, before double-pumping the pass to send Coote over untouched and extend the Panthers lead.
Penrith Panthers 10-0
34 min: PENALTY Panthers. Moimoi is penalised for creeping up a bit in the tackle off the restart.
36 min: Walsh completes a perfect Penrith set of six where they marched down the field. Parramatta scrum 10m out from their own line.
39 min: 40/20 Parramatta Eels
Casey McGuire kicks a 40/20.
McGuire gives the Eels one last chance in the first half!
40 min: A final piece of enterprising play as the siren sounds at halftime sees Jennings trickle a grubber into the back-play, but it comes to nothing and the Panthers will retire to the sheds with a healthy 10-0 lead.
41 min: Second half is underway! The Eels get the second stanza going again and the Panthers have first use of the ball.
42 min: Simmons knocks Robson's cross-field bomb backwards, but luckily for the winger, Jennings cleans up.
43 min: Walsh's kick on the fifth tackle finds touch 10m out from the Eels line.
46 min: TRY
TRY Penrith Panthers
Scored by Michael Gordon. Conversion attempt by Michael Gordon successful.
Gordon intercepts a loose pass! The Panthers winger latches onto an errant Hayne pass and races 60m to score and extend the Panthers lead to almost unbeatable proportions.
Penrith Panthers 16-0
50 min: Robson's kick on the last is charged down and the Panthers show more urgency and dive on the loose ball.
51 min: Smith penalised for a high tackle on Burns.
PENALTY GOAL Penrith Panthers
Penalty goal attempt by Michael Gordon successful.
Gordon extends the lead to three converted tries. It's a long way back now for the Eels.
Penrith Panthers 18-0
53 min: Coote's kick on the last catches Hicks in his own in-goal area. The winger wished for the ball to go dead, but it held up and the Panthers have a chance to extend their lead.
54 min: Penalty Panthers. Hindmarsh penalised for taking too long getting off the tackled player, despite the ball coming free.
PENALTY GOAL Penrith Panthers
Penalty goal attempt by Michael Gordon successful.
Gordon makes no mistake from 30m out directly in front.
Penrith Panthers 20-0
57 min: Penalty Eels. Civoniceva penalised for giving a facial massage.
58 min: Double knock on. Mortimer tries to spark an Eels revival, but the pass is knocked down by Grant, before being knocked on by Hayne.
59 min: Penalty Eels. Jennings not square at marker.
59 min: Penalty Eels. Tighe upends Whatuira and is placed on report. Penalty sufficient.
60 min: Penalty Panthers. Simmons is caught high as the Eels lost the ball, throwing it around trying to crack a much-improved Panthers defence,
63 min: Penalty Eels. Panthers rake the ball away in the tackle.
64 min: Penalty Panthers. Hayne not square at marker, knocking the ball down.
65 min: Morgan claims Walsh's fifth tackle kick in his own in-goal. 20m restart.
66 min: Robson knocks the ball on while attempting to play it, summing up the Eels night.
71 min: TRY
TRY Parramatta Eels
Scored by Matt Keating. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful.
Finally, the Eels cross the Panthers line and it had to be none other than Jarryd Hayne to set it up. Taking the ball on the fifth tackle, Hayne drew two defenders, before passing on the inside for Keating to score the easiest of tries.
Penrith Panthers 20-6
73 min: Allgood knocks the ball on from the kickoff after a good hit from Nigel Plum's left shoulder.
74 min: Coote kicks in behind the Eels line, looking for winger Simmons, but Simmons was unable to get a handle on the ball to score the try. Eels 20m restart.
79 min: We enter the final minute of this encounter with the Panthers holding a comfortable lead and with one final shot at posting points.
80 min: Moimoi tries to finish on a positive night for the Eels, but his chipkick and pass go into touch.
80 min: Fulltime here at Parramatta Stadium and the Panthers have bounced back from last week's embarrassment with a comprehensive 20-6 victory.

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