Penrith Panthers retained their NRL Premiership crown as they put on a classy display to ease past Parramatta Eels 28-12 in front of a sold-out crowd in Sydney.
Ivan Cleary’s side backed up last year’s NRL Grand Final success over South Sydney Rabbitohs with another clinical performance, this time against the Eels.
Penrith got off to the perfect start when they opened the scoring in the 12th minute through Samoa World Cup hopeful Stephen Crichton, with Nathan Cleary converting.
Winger Brian To’o extended Penrith’s lead five minutes later when he went over in the corner.
Cleary, who is almost certain to be part of Australia’s World Cup squad, kicked a penalty goal midway through the first half.
New Zealand World Cup hopeful Scott Sorensen got on the end of a Cleary grubber to send his side into the sheds with an 18-0 lead.
Penrith Panthers 18-0 ahead at half-time
Samoa international To’o got his second in the 47th minute following a quick passing play. Cleary couldn’t convert but Cleary’s men were in a comfortable 22-0 advantage.
The Panthers put the game out of reach fort he Eels on the hour mark. Samoa international winger Charlie Staines raced over out wide, with Cleary adding the extras.
Clint Gutherson and Jake Arthur pulled tries back late for Parramatta late on. But they only proved to be consolations as Penrith finished comfortable 28-12 victors in front of 82,415 people at Stadium Australia.
With St Helens having won four Super League Grand Finals in a row; and Penrith having won two success NRL Premierships, how good would it be to see them two go at it in the World Club Challenge next year?
Panthers: Edwards; Staines, Tago, Crichton, To’o; Luai, Cleary; Leota, Kenny, Fisher-Harris, Kikau, Martin, Yeo. Subs: Koroisau, Sorensen, Leniu, Salmon.
Tries: Crichton, To’o (2), Sorensen, Staines Goals: Cleary 4
Eels: Gutherson; Sivo, Penisini, Simonsson, Blake; Brown, Moses; Campbell-Gillard, Mahoney, Paulo, Lane, Papali’i, Niukore. Subs: Brown, Arthur, Kaufusi, Matterson.
Tries: Gutherson, Arthur Goals: Moses 2