Robson the star as Eels dish out drubbing to Panthers outfit

If ever there is a way to quieten your critics, then Jeff Robson has managed to do so, after putting in his second straight stellar trial performance, as the Eels romped home in the Battle of the West against the Penrith Panthers.

Robson, who has been on the receiving end of unwarranted criticism for much of last year, and even this year, showed that experience does come in handy, as both he and halves partner Daniel Mortimer showed that they are a good team.

Whilst the Eels victory was comfortable, the match also had spiteful and physical elements to it.

It was a late hit by Panthers halfback on Eels five-eighth Daniel Mortimer that sparked a huge brawl on the field, with players having to separate Luke Walsh and Jarryd Hayne from clashing.

On the game itself however, another player that has shone, when perhaps he was not expected to, has been Taniela Lasalo.

Lasalo, who has scored two tries in the last two trial games might just be an outside chance for a bench spot, given that he is in good nick at the moment.

In a good sign for Panthers fans also, young fullback Lachlan Coote played for 40 minutes in the game, as he returns from injury.

Unfortunately, for Eels new recruit Chris Walker, he left the field after just 9 minutes with a foot injury. The severity of it is not yet known.

Despite young five-eighth Arana Taumata showing some flair and promise in attack, the Panthers just could not penetrate the Eels defence, and their cause was not helped with both Michael Jennings and Michael Gordon not playing.

Panthers coach Matthew Elliot said that his side’s performance was lacklustre, and that the Eels deserved to win, having outplayed his side.

“The opposition were far superior,” he said.

“I can’t really take too much constructive out of the way that we played … we were outplayed in all departments.”

Walker’s dislocated toe is believed to not be too serious, and the 30-year-old expects to be fit for round one, while Mortimer suffered a slight concussion from the Walsh hit.

“I’m a bit rattled, I got a head knock there but it’s starting to all come back to me,” Walsh said after the game.

“I can’t remember a thing (about the hit) at the moment, but it’s starting to come back to me.”

Stephen Kearney, in his first season as Eels coach praised his side’s sturdy effort in defence, and he may just make changes to the Rd 1 side that takes on the Warriors.

“There were a couple of periods there defending our tryline and the Panthers had a fair bit of possession and we kept them out, which was pleasing,” Kearney explained.

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