Panthers stun Eels with NRL comeback
Next Game: The Season has finished
11 Mar 2018
Penrith have fought back from 14 points down to claim a 24-14 win over Parramatta in their NRL season-opener.
Penrith have made a mockery of their early-season critics - and ruined Jarryd Hayne's return to Parramatta - with a comeback win 24-14 win in their NRL season-opener.
The Panthers entered their opening match under pressure following speculation of tension between coach Anthony Griffin and boss Phil Gould and player disharmony in recent weeks.
And it certainly appeared that way when the Eels raced out to a three-try lead - two of them to winger Josh Hoffman - inside the opening half hour on Sunday.
But in front of their first sellout crowd in four years at Panthers Stadium, the home side scored 24 unanswered points to stun the premiership contenders and claim a resounding victory.
In a game that marked Hayne's first game for the Eels since 2014 and James Maloney's Panthers' debut, it was unlikely duo Waqa Blake and Viliame Kikau who led the comeback.
Blake produced an impressive 35-metre individual effort to reduce the deficit just before halftime, before Kikau steamrolled over from close to the line soon after the break.
Griffin pinpointed Blake's effort as a turning point in the match.
"That just come out of nothing. We weren't doing much with it either. We weren't attacking well. Just to get that six points, it steadied them down, changed our mindset a bit," he said.
"We couldn't have done any more wrong in that first 20-25 minutes.
"We got ourselves into a hole but the back end of that first half, we got into a bit of rhythm, got some points, and we were pretty calm and comfortable at halftime."
Back-to-back penalty goals to Nathan Cleary - the second of which resulted in Mitchell Moses in the sin bin for a professional foul - gave the Panthers the lead for good.
Blake completed his double when he finished off a 70-metre run in the 59th minute, before Cleary sealed the win with a third penalty goal.
The Panthers star finished with a perfect six goals from six attempts, while fullback Dylan Edwards also impressed with a game-high 160 metres, eight tackle busts and three line breaks.
It was a stunning turnaround from Penrith, who conceded a penalty in the opening minute and turned the ball over in their first five sets.
Eels coach Brad Arthur bemoaned a poor second half effort.
"Momentum was stopped because we went in at halftime, we come out of the sheds... well we probably didn't come out of the sheds because our start to the second half wasn't good enough," he said.
"We allowed them back into the game and to their credit they come out with plenty of intent and we didn't match it."
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Last Game: The Panthers won against the St George Illawarra 30 - 26 at Penrith Stadium, Australia (5427 days ago)
game results here|
| Penrith Panthers Season 0 Stats (All games)|
| Total Games Played
| Away Games
| Away Wins
| Home Games
| Home Wins
| Total Tries:
| Total Goals:
| Total Field Goals:
| Total Points For:
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1995 Winfield Cup, 1996 Optus Cup, 1997 Superleague Telstra Cup, 1998 NRL Season, 1999 NRL Country Carnival, 1999 NRL Season, 2000 NRL Season, 2000 NRL Finals, 2001 NRL Pre-Season, 2001 NRL Season, 2002 NRL Season, 2003 NRL Season,
| Leagues the Penrith Panthers are in|
Ben Roarty, Chris Hicks, Colin Ward, Craig Gower, Jody Gall, Joe Galuvao, John Cross, Lee Hopkins, Luke Lewis, Luke Priddis, Luke Rooney, Martin Lang, Ned Catic, Rhys Wesser, Ryan Girdler, Scott Sattler, Shane Elford, Shannon Donato, Tony Puletua,
Andrew Hinson, Ben Reynolds, Brett Atkinson, Carl Macnamara, Chris Levy, Craig Greenhill, David McLean, David Woods, Duncan MacGillivray, Frank Puletua, Justin Holbrook, Martin O'connell, Matt Adamson, Matthew Rieck, Matthew Rodwell, Peter Jorgensen, Robbie Beckett, Sid Domic, Steve Carter,
Fred Petersen, Mark Geyer,
Brad Drew, David Atkins, David Reick, Greg Alexander,
Sunday, 11 May, 2003
St George 26
Saturday, 3 May, 2003
Sunday, 27 Apr, 2003
Saturday, 19 Apr, 2003
South Sydney 14
Saturday, 5 Apr, 2003
Sunday, 30 Mar, 2003
Sydney City 22
Saturday, 22 Mar, 2003
Sunday, 16 Mar, 2003
Sunday, 8 Sep, 2002
Sunday, 1 Sep, 2002