6 matches [2000-2002]
2 wins, 4 losses
The Northern Eagles was formed when the North Sydney Bears and Manly Sea Eagles agreed to a merger at the end of 1999, as part of a rationalised 14 team competition for the 2000 season.
Their first meeting was in round 3, with the Eagles scoring four tries to three to win 27-16 in their first match at Brookvale Oval. Later in the season, the Panthers led 32-16 midway through the second half at Penrith Stadium, with Craig Gower having scored 4 of their 6 tries before having to withstand a late comeback from the visitors to hold on for a 32-26 victory.
The Eagles would win the next three meetings, prevailing in their two 2001 meetings in high scoring encounters (42-34 at Penrith and 32-22 at Brookvale).
Ahead of the 2002 season, the merger dissolved with the licence reverting back to Manly, however, the name Northern Eagles would be retained for that season.
At Penrith Stadium, the Panthers trailed 28-8 in the second half and a late surge was not enough to steal a win, going down 28-22.
In the final round, the Panthers travelled to Brookvale Oval, with the Eagles only needing to register a win to qualify for the finals. Penrith, placed in third last only behind the returning South Sydney and salary cap disgraced Bulldogs had nothing but pride to play for. At half time the Panthers led 44-6, and whilst the Eagles staged a mini comeback in the second half, the visitors still scored a crushing 68-28 victory – both Rhys Wesser and Luke Lewis crossed for hat tricks amongst the 12 tries.
To this day, it remains the club’s biggest ever win away from home.
It was the final match of a three year failed marriage, with the full return of the Sea Eagles in 2003.
Last updated 15 April 2023