NYC Eels Too Strong for Panthers
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels under 20s have outgunned the Penrith Panthers 26-18 in the "Battle of the West" at Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta.
The young Eels side started strongly from the kick off on both sides of halftime, dominating the first ten minutes of each half through offensive play before settling in to hold out the Penrith attack.
First over the line was Fabian Goodall, crossing in the left corner, with an unsuccessful conversion by Nathan Davis.
Goodall struck again just six minutes later following a swift pass from halfback Zach Dockar-Clay, as the Eels went up 10-0 following a successful conversion from Davis.
The final try for the Eels first half saw Tepai Tepu-Smith score just to the left of the posts, allowing an easy conversion from Davis and helping the home side to a comfortable 16-0 lead.
Penrith were able to strike back through a lapse in the Eel’s defence where Joshua Jay scored on the right-hand side, the conversion unsuccessful from Bryce Cartwright.
Two consecutive penalties off the back of their first try allowed the Panthers to build some momentum as Brent Naden crossed for their second try. The pass came from Jarrod Brackenhofer, though Naden still had plenty of work to do by beating two Eels defenders, the conversion unsuccessful.
Penrith ended the half strongly but the Eels extended their lead with three tries in the first thirteen minutes of the second half.
Parramatta struck first following the kick-off for the second half – Kelepi Tanginoa offloaded to Zach Dockar-Clay who was able to float a ball out to set up winger Halaufa Lavaka in the corner, with the conversion missed by Davis.
Penrith five-eighth Jarrod Brackenhofer put Joshua Jay over for his second try following two penalties in the Eels half and bringing it back to 20-12 after another unsuccessful conversion attempt.
The Panthers came close following a break-away from the kick-off that almost granted Joshua Jay his hat-trick, but the Eels defence created too much pressure as he knocked-on diving for the line.
Coming off a four-try haul last week, Eels NYC Captain Ryan Matterson barged his way over the line late in the game to seal the match for the Eels and extend the lead to 26-12 after Davis converted.
A late surge from Penrith in the final two minutes of play granted Joshua Jay his hat-trick for the match but it was too little, too late for the visitors as the match finished 26-18.
Dyldam Parramatta Eels 26 (Goodall 2, Matterson, Lavaka, Tepu-Smith tries; Davis 3/5 goals)
Penrith Panthers 18 (Jay 3, Naden tries; Cartwright 1/4 goals)