Round 18: NRL Match Report + Highlights

The Parramatta Eels have been defeated 17-10 in a close-fought match in front of their home crowd on Saturday night at Parramatta Stadium.


The late afternoon sun was able to dry out the field, and a loud and loyal crowd of Blue and Gold turned out to watch their beloved Eels in a round 18 triple-header.


Missing some key players to injury didn't stop the Eels from coming out in full force with the experienced Willie Tonga back after a long absence from injury.


Tonga proved to be the missing element of defence the Parramatta Eels has been looking for, sealing off the south-western corner for the Eels after one initial try to the in-form Panthers through winger David Simmons.


Debut player Semi Radradra kept charging through, gaining metres wherever possible for the Parramatta side.


Hooker Kevin Kingston took advantage of a lag in defence and scored straight down the middle in the 16th minute. Another Walsh conversion brought the score up to 12-0.


The Eels refused to walk away from the first half empty handed and a tackle penalty against Penrith gave the Eels the chance they needed to hold their field position at the Penrith end.


With only 7 minutes left in the first half, Williame drove the first try over the line but fullback Jake Mullaney's conversion strayed to the right.


Points on the board seemed to reawaken the Eels' drive as they pushed closer to the Penrith line. After a trade-off to Penrith, Luke Kelly broke away from the 40m line and with a magical run ended the first half on 10 points to the Panthers' 12.


The second forty minutes opened with a great couple of plays that left Williame just shy of the tryline. Penrith followed up with another try from David Simmons but the conversion fell wide, leaving Penrith at a 6 point lead.


A beautiful tackle by Ben Roberts pushed Moylan back onto the try line to slow the Panthers' attack, and despite the ticking minutes, Parramatta froze the score board and kept their defence line tight.


It took a field goal from Penrith halfback Luke Walsh in the dying minutes to put the game more than one converted try out of the Eels' reach, and secure the win for the Panthers.


Young dummy-half Kaysa Pritchard was put on report for a high tackle against Penrith Centre Brad Tighe late in the game, and will have the tackle considered by the NRL Match Review Committee during the week.


Penrith Panthers - 17 (Simmons 2, Kingston. Goals: Walsh 2/3. Field Goals: 1)

Parramatta Eels - 10 (Williame, Kelly. Goals: Mullaney 1/2)