MATCH HIGHLIGHTS | Eels v Penrith Panthers Trial
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have defeated the Penrith Panthers 22-8 in their final trial match of the 2016 pre-season on Saturday night at Pepper Stadium.
The Blue and Gold threatened early, sending second-rower Tepai Moeroa across the line under the goal posts in the 4th minute for a 4-0 lead.
With Scott punishing the Panthers defence from dummy-half, the Eels held strong field position, but execution saw the ball come loose on the last pass to narrowly miss a try in the left corner.
Winger Josh Mansour opened Penrith’s account down the sideline in the 12th minute, but momentum swung the visitor’s way when Eels’ skipper Tim Mannah was hit hard in a tackle to draw a penalty.
Panthers centre Waqa Blake was dangerous with the ball in hand, while Eels second-rower was unafraid to slip in a grubber kick to earn a repeat set for the Blue and Gold.
Blake found his way across the stripe in the 25th minute, managing to ground the football despite powerful defence from Semi Radradra, also giving the video referee bunker its first workout for the match.
Radradra was impressive in man-on-man defense, defusing a likely try by bundling Dalene Watene-Zelezniak into touch in the 29th minute.
Corey Norman popped the pass to new Eels recruit Michael Jennings in the 35th minute to hit space between his markers and score a try against his former side in his first ever outing for Parramatta.
Pinpoint kick from another new recruit, Michael Gordon, saw the Blue and Gold head to the halftime break holding a 12-8 lead.
The slippery conditions worsened early in the second half, with both sides struggling to control the football. A lost Panthers ball saw Clint Gutherson come up with possession, as the Eels found their way upfield.
Radradra’s effort to push Mansour into touch earned the Eels a scrum feed just 10 metres out for their line, as Kieran Foran moved the ball right to Corey Norman to send Gutherson across in the corner for a try.
Panthers skipper Matt Moylan pushed the Eels defence with his kicking game, but the Blue and Gold’s defence proved solid through the second half. Gutherson went hunting for his second try of the day, but the conditions made it easy for the Panthers defence to pry the football loose.
The dying 20 minutes saw Head Coach Brad Arthur rotate Vai Toutai, Bevan French , Cody Nelson, Ryan Morgan, Tyrell Fuimaono and Mitch Cornish into his side, building on their earlier showings for the Wentworthville Magpies and Eels Under 20s sides.
And as the clock ticked down, prop Junior Paulo barreled over the tryline to put the game out of reach for the hosts, while Gutherson added the extra two points.
Parramatta Eels - 22 (Moeroa, Jennings, Gutherson, Paulo. Gordon: 2/3. Gutherson: 1/1)
Penrith Panthers - 8 (Mansour, Blake. Soward: 0/2)