The Parramatta Eels under 20s side have been defeated 22-18 by the Penrith Panthers in a close encounter at Centrebet Stadium on Monday night, as the young Panthers maintain their perfect record for the 2013 season.


It was a re-shuffled Penrith line-up that took the field, with five-eighth Nikko Roberts replaced by Kierran Moseley, and Josh Tangitau stepping in at dummy half, and the home side was rusty in the early stages.


The blue and gold looked confident coming off the back of a 32-10 victory over the Gold Coast Titans in round six, and took advantage of two successive penalties against the home side to put first points on the board.





Led by Captain Kaysa Pritchard, the Eels neutralised the Panthers attack, and five-eighth Sam Gorman capitalised with a neat cross-field bomb in the eleventh minute for Sam Manuleleua to collect and score in the left corner.


The undefeated Penrith began to gel in attack late in the first half, moving the ball wide and sending in Iszah Yeo and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak - twice - to lead the blue and gold 16-12 at the half time siren.


Penrith momentum stalled late in the piece as both sides tightened up defensively, with a rare gap in the Eels' goal line defence providing an opportunity for prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard to stroll over under the posts and extend the Panthers' lead.


Kaysa Pritchard was almost equally strong in attack, scoring in the 23rd minute for the Eels, and while young centre John Folau proved adept at finding space with the ball, the Parramatta NYC side was unable to capitalise on its line breaks late in the second half.


Parramatta halfback Zach Dockar-Clay was the only Eel to cross the try line after halftime, while Mitchell Brasington's pinpoint kicking added the extras to all three of Parramatta's tries.


Penrith Panthers - 22: Watene-Zelezniak 2, Yeo, Campbell-Gillard. Goals: Cartwright: 3/4

Parramatta Eels - 18: Pritchard, Manuleleua, Dockar-Clay. Goals: Brasingon 3/3