Panthers v Eels: 3 key points
After a shaky start, the Penrith Panthers managed to put on a confident second half display to snatch victory from the Parramatta Eels on Sunday afternoon.
Here are three key points from the round one fixture.
Benchwarmer the game changer
Parramatta looked to have the edge in attack, scoring the opening tries and demonstrating their slick ball playing ability across the right edge. Enter Viliame Kikau. The back rower started the game on the bench but was very much responsible for tipping proceedings in Penrith’s favour. Kikau scored a barnstorming try in the 43rd minute, crashing over the Parramatta defence from close range. Kikau then produced an offload that would quickly lead to a sin binning, a penalty goal and Penrith’s acquisition of a lead they would never relinquish.
Parramatta scoreless in the second 40
For all their early finesse, the Eels failed to have much of an impact on the game after Hoffman’s second try in only the 26th minute of play. Whilst their opponents mounted a comeback, Parramatta went into their shell and remained scoreless for nearly three quarters of the game.
Moses hot and cold
It was a mixed game for Mitchell Moses. The Eels’ number seven was sensational in the opening phases of the game, instrumental in Parramatta’s early attacking raids. Late in the first half he suffered a head knock and was forced to leave the field for a mandatory 15 minutes. Moses was sent to the sin bin in the second half and the resulting penalty from Nathan Cleary ultimately sealed Parramatta’s fate.