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Parramatta Eels 18 v Penrith Panthers 44
at Parramatta Stadium
Referees: Jason Robinson
The Penrith Panthers have defeated the Parramatta Eels 44-18 in dramatic circumstances at Parramatta Stadium. The Panthers piled on 30 unanswered points in the second half to recover from trailing 18-14 at half time. The half time deficit was compounded by a sternum injury to halfback Craig Gower that saw him needing to be taken to hospital.
The Eels started well but had a try disallowed after eight minutes. The Panthers took the lead a few minutes later with a try to Preston Campbell. Three minutes later Craig Gower doubled the Panthers lead to 12-0. Zeb Taia responded for the Eels a few minutes later, and that was followed up with a try to Dean Widders for the Eels to trail 12-10. Craig Gower was hit after kicking by Marcus Perenara, who was put on report for an innocuous looking hit. This was followed up by a penalty goal to Preston Campbell. Timana Tahu scored a few minutes short of half time, and he then got a second after the half time siren for the Eels 18-14 half time lead.
Shane Rodney scored four minutes into the second half after a comedy of errors from both sides, then the poor Eels defence took over as Lee Hookey scored out wide, followed up by Wesser running right through the Eels defensive line. Wesser got his second when he followed up his own kick with nine minutes to go, and Luke Priddis capped off the win when he backed up a Luke Lewis break.
It is a very alarming sign for the Eels, who have wilted in the second half of most of their matches this year and have only one win. This second half collapse is made even worse because of the absence of Craig Gower. The Panthers have started the year well, with only a golden point loss, and they are yet to even play a match at home.
Parramatta Eels: 18
Tries: Timana Tahu(2), Dean Widders, Zeb Taia
Goals: Mark Riddell 1/2
Penrith Panthers: 44
Tries: Preston Campbell, Craig Gower, Luke Priddis, Shane Rodney, Rhys Wesser(2), Lee Hookey
Goals: Preston Campbell 8/9
By the Clock:
Beautiful day here at Parramatta Stadium. Both teams as per the program.
And we're underway in the first half!
5 min: NEWS The Eels enjoying much of the early possession.
8 min: NEWS Video referee for an Eels try...
8 min: NEWS NO TRY - Peterson fails to ground the ball in the corner of the in goal.
10 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Campbell grubbers into the ingoal, nobody is home and he scores. Successfully converts his own try.
13 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Craig Gower dummies his way over the line. Campbell converts off the uprights.
16 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
Taia scores for the Eels. Riddell fails to convert.
23 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
Tahu grubbers down the sideline, he regathers and passes infield to Widders who scores. Riddell converts.
30 min: NEWS Gower is down with an apparent sternum injury.
30 min: PENALTY GOAL Penrith Panthers
Gower leaves the field with a sternum injury. Campbell slots the two points from the penalty for the late tackle on Gower. Marcus Perenara is on report for the hit.
35 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
After some sustained pressure Tahu runs through the Panthers defence and scores out wide. Delaney misses the conversion.
36 min: NEWS Craig Gower is being taken to hospital as a precaution.
40 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
McKinnon gets the ball after the siren, he returns it to the 20 metre line, throws a fantastic offload when he looks wrapped up, Tahu is ankle tapped short but gets up and scores. Delaney misses the conversion.
40 min: NEWS Halftime in a very enjoyable match. The Panthers took a 12-0 lead, but the Eels hit back to level the match at 14-14 before the after the siren try at halftime.
40 min: NEWS Back underway!
Craig Gower has a cracked sternum.
44 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Peterson picks up an errant Panthers pass, only to throw his own errant pass, which is picked up by Rodney who scores. Campbell makes it 4/4.
45 min: NEWS Gower has been coughing up blood and has just been loaded into an ambulance.
52 min: NEWS Still a fairly high quality match with the odd error creeping in.
54 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
The Panthers bust down the right sideline and Lee Hookey scores a fairly easy try. Campbell converts from the sideline.
59 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Wesser runs right through the Eels line and scores 10 in from the sideline. Very poor Eels defence have led to the last two tries. Campbell converts again.
64 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL Penrith Panthers
Tsoulos is penalised for interfering with the play the ball. Campbell misses the goal from about 35 metres on the angle.
65 min: NEWS After the 20 metres drop out, the Panthers cut the Eels up but Rodney knocks on 10 metres out. The Eels are just self-destructing.
68 min: NEWS McKinnon breaks on the last tackle but is hauled down just short of the line.
71 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
A great attacking lead up has Wesser grubbering into the in goal, he chases through and scores his second. Campbell converts.
78 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Lewis breaks through more feeble Eels defence and passes to Priddis who outpaces the cover and scores under the posts. Campbell converts.
80 min: NEWS The Panthers have flogged the Eels 44-18, taking home the second half 30-0 without Craig Gower.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Rhys Wesser (Panthers)
2 - Preston Campbell (Panthers)
1 - Trent Waterhouse (Panthers)