Pan­thers put loss in past with big up­set win

Townsville Bulletin - - Bizfi Nd -

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.

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