Parramatta Eels back-rower Shaun Lane

Bitter rivals on the field, it was the Parramatta Eels who came out on top against the Penrith Panthers with a 20-12 win.

After taking out the wooden spoon in 2018, the Eels have something to prove in 2019 to avoid much of the same.

Their campaign got off to the perfect start with a win, led by several of their big stars.

The loss was unfortunately soured by the loss of Nathan Brown who faces roughly 3 months on the sidelines with a pec injury.

The Eels would open the scoring through Marata Niukore, who pounced on a Brad Takairangi grubber and grounded the ball on the line.

Their lead was then extended when Michael Jennings scored a try that some fans saw as dubious.

Taking a short pass from back-rower Shaun Lane, Jennings bobbled and juggled and seemingly held onto the ball to score.

There was a suggestion that the ball grazed the arm of Dylan Edwards but the video referee saw otherwise and gave the try.

Young hooker Reed Mahoney then showed his hustle to score, bamboozling some defenders.

It was a case of deja vu from there as the Eels, who also led 14-0 this time last year, saw Penrith make a comeback.

The turning point came when Jennings was sin-binned for a high shot on Isaah Yeo.

Wayde Egan caught the Eels defence napping to dart over from dummy half.

This was soon followed by a rampaging James Tamou who just powered his way over to score.

At 14-12, the match was evenly poised. But who would take the step? Penrith or Parramatta?

In the end, the Eels got the last say as young gun Dylan Brown combined with Jennings for the centre to score his second.

Despite the loss, coach Ivan Cleary was optimistic about their season and was pleased with aspects of their performance.

“Our off-season has been really good,” Cleary said.

“We had, obviously, an issue for a period of about a week.

“But for the most part I’ve been really happy with how everything has worked.”

Eels coach Brad Arthur was blunt with his assessment on Brown who faces roughly three months on the sidelines.

“He’s not good. I think it’s his pec and that’s three months,” coach Brad Arthur said.

“It’s tough but we lost a couple at the start of the week when we thought they might play.

“But Kane Evans and David Gower came in and got an opportunity and didn’t let us down.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Shaun Lane

2. Marata Niukore

  1. Blake Ferguson

By ricky

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