Joseph Paulo of the Eels looks dejected after a Panthers
try during the round 12 NRL match between the Penrith
Panthers and the Parramatta Eels at Sportingbet Stadium in
Sydney. Photo by Getty
The importance of Jarryd Hayne to Parramatta was made
abundantly clear, as Penrith cut loose in a comprehensive 38-12
thrashing of the Eels at Sportingbet Stadium.
In front of the first sell out crowd at Penrith since 2010,
lock Tyrone Peachey bagged a sensational double where he
twice showed the speed of an outside back to outrun NSW
game-two candidate Will Hopoate.
Following serious injuries to NSW's right-edge players Josh
and Brett Morris - Hopoate is primed for an Origin recall to
take on Greg Inglis, but wouldn't have been happy with Friday
night's effort, as the Panthers ran six of their seven tries
down his side.
Panthers winger Josh Mansour - linked heavily to a move to
Canberra - put his hand up for the vacant Blues spot, with
another energy-filled double.
In terms of a contest, the western Sydney derby between the
top four sides failed to reach its blockbuster potential, but
mainly because the Hayne Plane was left on the tarmac -
rested after his heroics for NSW in State of Origin I.
The Eels are capable of almost anything this season with
Hayne calling the shots at fullback.
But without him, the electric Eels are devoid of spark and
direction - winning just four out of 23 matches over the
Nonetheless it was another impressive performance from the
Panthers, who further cemented their place in the NRL top
three with a third straight win - thanks to the blossoming
attacking combination of spine players Peter Wallace, Matt
Moylan, Jamie Soward and James Segeyaro - the latter two
Moylan's instincts with his halves are growing sharper by the
game, and he almost scored a brilliant try chasing through a
Soward bomb - only to be collared high by Hayne's replacement
Justin Hunt and dropping the ball.
It was scenes similar to when St George Illawarra's Jamie
Ainscough tackled Melbourne's Craig Smith high in the 1999
grand final to give away the penalty try which sealed the
Storm a premiership.
But there was no penalty try to Moylan because he didn't have
control of the ball when the contact was made, and Soward
instead potted the penalty goal points for a 14-0 lead.
There were injury worries for both sides - the Eels have
Nathan Peats and Darcy Lussick needing scans on knee
injuries, while the Panthers lost Dean Whare and Sam McKendry
also to leg problems.
Parramatta's Mitchell Allgood was put on report for a
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur appeared particularly concerned
over key player Peats, as he suffered a recurrence of a knee
Arthur said Hayne's absence had little effect on the outcome
of the match and defended his decision to rest him.
"I have to go on the advice of the staff and they said he was
too big a risk factor and we'd much rather miss him tonight
than for six to eight weeks," he said.
"It's got nothing to do with Jarryd for me. Maybe we tried
too hard in the first half to create things that weren't
there - but when you complete at 56 per cent it's very hard
to come up with repeat sets.
"The difference was our start wasn't real good. We didn't
turn up in that first bit."
Penrith coach Ivan Cleary praised his side for the way they
got on with business after centre Jamal Idris was given
indefinite leave to deal with some personal issues.
Cleary said he has no idea when Idris might be back and said
it wasn't a football matter.
He believes the Panthers are building nicely.
"We've been working towards this for a long time," he said.
"There's a long way to go but we're certainly showing some
consistency which helps."