Five Talking Points: Panthers v Eels, Round One

Following the Parramatta Eels round one victory over the Penrith Panthers at Panthers Stadium, we take a look at five key talking points following the clash.

Two Points

The Parramatta Eels kicked off their season with a victory and two points to start the season.

Looking back at last season, it took the Blue & Gold seven rounds before registering their first win. They also did not register a win in any away trips last year.

A win over our western rivals, at the foot of the mountains, in the first Battle of the West of the year will give the side plenty of confidence to begin their 2019 campaign.

DESPERATION IN DEFENCE

Entering hostile Panthers territory, the Eels showed plenty of resolve and resilience during yesterday’s victory over the Panthers.

Having not secured an away win last year, and with the potential of a 14-0 lead being run down by the Panthers, a situation that played out in the corresponding game one year ago, the Blue & Gold were under immense pressure throughout the second half.

However the Eels bound together and fought through the adversity to strangle back the momentum late before scoring a try of their own to secure an eight point victory.

The Eels effort in defence was epitomised in back to back plays where halfback Mitch Moses single handed pulled down a charging Reagan Campbell-Gillard before backing it up to deny Waqa Blake close to the in the very next play.

Desperation in defence by Moses on two larger bodies gave a clear indication of the Eels defensive attitude on Sunday.

MICHAEL JENNINGS SIN BIN

The Eels were put under pressure when centre Michael Jennings was sent to the sin bin in the 54th minute of the clash.

A try to Eels winger Maika Sivo was overturned before the Panthers scored tries to Wayde Egan and James Tamou in quick succession, cutting the Eels fourteen point lead to just two.

With an inexperienced left edge of Lane, Brown and Sivo, the Blue & Gold showed plenty of resolve and resilience to hold on and defend their lead.

When Jennings returned, he looked determined to make up for the ten minutes off the field.

The centre finished the clash with 13 runs for 135m, two line breaks and two tries, including the match winner with under five minutes remaining on the clock.

DEBUTANTS

The round one clash saw four new faces don the Blue & Gold jersey for the first time with wingers Maika Sivo & Blake Ferguson, half Dylan Brown and back rower Shaun Lane become the latest official players to the Eels.

Sivo had a try overturned, but with limited opportunities, the winger finished with 13 runs for 111m including one tackle break.

Brown looked calm and composed in his debut, with a pin point kick for centre Michael Jennings an eye catching moment for Head Coach Brad Arthur. 8 runs for 37m along with 27 tackles and 3 kicks for 66m capped off the 80 minutes for the eighteen year old.

Ferguson looked experienced and safe under the high ball finishing with five kick diffusals and had strong carries from deep in the Eels half. 20 runs for 159m and two tackle breaks capped off the wingers club debut.

LOSS OF NATHAN BROWN

The Eels saw lock Nathan Brown leave the field in the 17th minute of the clash due to injury.

Whilst the loss of the hardworking forward was a big one, Head Coach Brad Arthur praised bench forwards Kane Evans and David Gower who stepped up and played more minutes in his absence, whilst back rowers Shaun Lane and Marata Niukore also played 80 minutes on the field.

“"It's tough but we lost a couple at the start of the week when we thought they might play,” Arthur said after the game.

“But Kane Evans and David Gower came in and got an opportunity and didn't let us down."

Gower finished with 8 runs for 64m and 20 tackles during his 39 minutes on the field whilst Evans finished with 3 runs for 27m and 12 tackles during his 17 minutes on the field.

Mannah played a giant 52 minutes from the bench, with 16 runs for 138m along with 19 tackles.

Lane finished with 11 runs for 99m, 2 offloads and 28 tackles whilst Niukore finished with a try, 12 runs for 133m and 27 tackles.