Full Time
7:55pm Fri May 6, 2022
Round 9 - BlueBet Stadium, Penrith - Crowd: 21548

Match Overview

The Parramatta Eels become the first side since Canberra in July 2019 to defeat the Penrith Panthers at BlueBet Stadium downing their arch-rivals 22-20 in an absolute thriller and submitting Penrith to their first loss of the season.

Penrith had all of the early possession and it took a Hayze Perham error for the first points to come. Dylan Edwards burrowed over after clever lead-up work from Api Koroisau and with Cleary's conversion, Penrith enjoyed an early 6-0 lead. However, Parramatta was quick to rebound and settle into the arm-wrestle, un-nerving the Penrith side through the resounding defence from their big forwards in Paulo and Papali'i. With repeated sets through poor Penrith discipline, a clever blindside play from Will Penisini and Clint Gutherson saw the captain cross for the Eels.

This game was full of controversy late in the opening 40 and the game's first contentious moment when Reed Mahoney appeared to be tackled short of the line. Bunker official Ashley Klein ruled that Mahoney was taken off the ball by Jaeman Salmon and due to Dylan Edwards committing to the tackled player and the gap presented, the bunker awarded a penalty try. With the chip shot from in front, Moses converted and the Eels had a 10-6 lead.

Penrith thought they levelled up almost immediately when Brian To'o crossed but the bunker took it off the board citing obstruction on Dylan Brown. Penrith had its own contentious moment when Villiame Kikau appeared to knock the ball on but was missed by both the referee and the sideline official. Off the ensuing Cleary linebreak, Penrith shifted it left and Kikau put it on the boot and Taylan May continued his purple patch of form to cross and level the scores at half-time.

Parramatta struggled coming out of the break, continuously being held inside Parramatta's end. The game's turning point was a Kikau charge down which allowed Penrith to be camped inside the Parramatta 20. Off the back of the possession, Kikau again turned provider and May crossed for his second. History showed that Penrith would run on a succession of points, but you never discount Parramatta in season 2022.

When the possession count swung back to the Eels, Gutherson again turned provider and Ryan Matterson put a vicious step past Dylan Edwards to cross for the Eels. Moses converted and Parramatta retook the lead. Off the next set, a mid-field bomb was left uncontested by Edwards, which saw Dylan Brown pounce to cross, although To'o caught him lacking and nearly bombed the try, the try was confirmed and the Eels led by 8. A late try to interchange forward Spencer Leniu got Penrith fans on the edge of their seats, but Cleary missed a two-point field goal which allowed Parramatta to hang on for the victory.

Next week, we head to Magic Round. Penrith plays Melbourne in the clash of the weekend, while Parramatta takes on an inconsistent Roosters outfit.

3. Clinton Gutherson

Best on the park, instrumental in the comeback. Grabbed their first try and allowed the Eels to win.

2. Reed Mahoney

Well, Parra fans were right. Mahoney played, Parra won. Solid defence and amazing service from the little number 9.

1. Viliame Kikau

Best in a beaten side, set up two tries and was solid in defence.