Panthers put loss in past with big upset win
T H E e mb a r r a s s me n t o f Penrith’s round one humiliation was a distant memory last night as the Panthers stunned Parramatta in a 20-6 NRL upset.
Crushed 42-8 by Newcastle on their home turf only last Sunday, Penrith found form in the short trip down the M4, running in three tries to one.
The Panthers were never headed as they jumped out of the gate with an early David Simmons try, halfback Luke Walsh the perfect puppeteer with a sublime kicking game a s L a c h l a n C o o t e a n d Michael Jennings found a spark that wasn’t there in round one.
Coote and Michael Gordon s c o r e d t h e o t h e r f o u r - pointers f or t he visitors either side of halftime, with Parramatta’s solo effort coming via Matt Keating nine minutes from time as he c a p i t a l i s e d o n a J a r r y d Hayne offload.
As striking as Penrith’s t ur naround was, i t was shaded by Parramatta’s sudden loss of form - the promise of a new era under coach Stephen Kearney evaporating in a drab 80-minute display.
Panthers coach Matthew Elliott – celebrating his 100th game with the Panthers – denied the performance was driven by last week’s disappointing effort, despite the mountain of negative press that followed the loss.
‘‘ I wouldn’t say so much a response to last week – that’s how we’re supposed to play,’’ Elliott said.
‘‘ There’s quite a contrast to the way we feel tonight to last week
‘‘ I’ve got a great deal of belief in this group of people. I didn’t read the ( press) but I can guess ( what was said) – I was pretty unaffected by it to be honest.’’
Parramatta coach Stephen Kearney accused his side of being off the pace as he suffered his first loss as Eels coach.
‘‘ Knowing that they would come here very determined after their performance on Sunday, I thought we readied ourselves for that but obviously it wasn’t quite there,’’ Kearney said.