Sunday 7th September at Penrith Stadium
Penrith 40 – Tries: Wesser (3), Gower (1), Rodney (1), Rooney (1), Swain (1) (1); Goals: Girdler (6) | Parramatta 22
The visitors scored twice in the opening eight minutes to lead 10-0 – albeit against a 12-man Panthers team after Ryan Girdler was sent to the sin bin in the third minute.
The Panthers got on to the scoreboard with a movement that started just inside their own half – Paul Whatuira split the Eels defensive line and then made more metres when he dummied to his right wing partner before finding a roaming Rhys Wesser in support on his left hand side and evaded the covering defence to touch down.
Wesser had his second seven minutes later when he ran through a gap off a Tony Puletua offload, and erase the 10 point deficit. Girdler’s second conversion made saw Penrith hit the lead.
Whilst Parramatta regained the lead at the midway point with a converted try, Penrith crossed twice in the final five minutes – firstly Craig Gower shrugged off one tackle and then stepped his way to power his way over the line, and then with only 15 seconds remaining, replacement forward Luke Swain from 10 metres out stepped his way through the defensive line to touch down adjacent to the right upright. Girdler converted both to have the home team up 24-16 at half time.
In the opening minute of the second half, Wesser had a hat trick when he completed a 70 metre scintillating individual effort which saw him slice the defensive line inside his own half and into open space, outpacing the Eels defenders.
In the 49th minute, the Panthers pushed the lead out further when Shane Rodney was on the spot to run off a Scott Sattler offload and straight into a gap and over the try line, with Girdler’s conversion making it 34-16.
The lead grew even further just after the one hour mark when the Girdler ran on an angle towards the left corner and passed back inside to Luke Rooney, who stepped and found a gap to dive over, and hold a four converted tries lead.
The Eels crossed with four minutes remaining for merely a consolation try, with the victory enough to secure the Panthers second ever minor premiership and also deny the Eels a spot in the finals.