That’s a wrap from me. Thank you for tuning in to all the live action from tonight’s elimination final between Penrith and Parramatta. The Panthers’ win pits them against premiers Melbourne Storm next week while Manly face South Sydney in the other preliminary final next weekend.
Stay online for all the fall-out, including match report and analysis from Phil Lutton and Adrian Proszenko. Thank you and have a great night.
It’s been 35 years of disappointment for the Eels but their fans might not know what to think just yet, balancing the heartbreak with the pride that must come from that performance. There hasn’t been a better display from a defeated team this season as the Eels were defensively brilliant against one of the favourites for the title.
Almost nothing separated the Eels from the Panthers, one penalty goal in fact, though there was a sense Penrith were perhaps slightly more in control during the second half and had the better of the scoring opportunities.
Penrith have kept their season alive with a gutsy, hard-fought win over Parramatta Eels who suffered the heartbreak of losing in this epic of a match.
The Panthers’ 8-6 win is the lowest scoring match of the season but quite possibly the best we’ve seen in 2021. It felt more like an Origin match rather than an elimination final, such was the pace and resilience of both teams. Tellingly, two tries both came from kicks as neither side could break down the other from open play.
Isaah Yeo has been one of the best forwards of the season and might have just saved his side. The Panthers’ back rower comes up with a vital intercept attempt to deny Parramatta a certain try. He knocks on in the process but importantly, kept their two-point lead intact with less than a minute remaining.
A huge moment that could turn the game with the normally sturdy Api Koroisau knocking-on just 20 metres out from his own line. Penrith lose the captain’s challenge and Parramatta have a full set in close range.
They’ve got the Panthers on the ropes but they can’t do any better than force a drop-out and maintain pressure.
The young halve Dylan Brown has led Parramatta’s brilliant defensive display, having made 31 tackles already.
This match is something else. After spending 20 minutes defending desperately, the Eels come within a fingernail of snatching another try. Winger Blake Ferguson breaks down the right flank and puts in a clever short kick for his runner in support but the outstretched fingertips of Panthers’ Paul Momirovski get to the ball first and keep this match a two-point game.
69th min: Panthers lead 8-6.
The Eels’ brilliant defensive shift is coming undone. Two clumsy errors, first a knock-on by Ray Stone gave Panthers a full set in dangerous territory and then a high tackle by Marata Niukore gifted the Panthers a penalty in front of the posts.
Again, they don’t point to the sticks. Nathan Cleary thumbs his nose at two points and gambles for six instead. The best they could muster was a repeat set after a Cleary short-kick forces a drop out. Could this be another decision they regret? That’s four points they’ve turned down.
Penrith might have let the Eels off the hook. With points at a premium, the Panthers were gifted two with a penalty within striking range but Nathan Cleary doesn’t point to the sticks and they roll the dice with a set of six in good territory. Unfortunately for them, it comes to nothing and their lead is still a slender two points. Could this be a decision they rue?
62nd min: Panthers lead 8-6