Panthers make Eels sorry with 30-20 win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Panthers make Eels sorry with 30-20 win

By Adrian Proszenko 19/05/2006 10:35:50 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta's season of misery has continued, with Panthers prop Matthew Cross adding insult to injury as Penrith beat its local rivals 30-20 in a spiteful NRL clash at CUA Stadium.

Playing for the first time under caretaker coach Jason Taylor after Brian Smith walked out on the embattled club on Monday, the Eels - missing eight first graders - again came up empty despite a more spirited performance.

But the biggest talking point after the match was a controversial 65th minute try to Cross, who seemed to cock his forearm as he barged over the line. In doing so he made contact with the head of Eels fullback Wade McKinnon, who was immediately taken to Nepean hospital with a lip laceration and suspected broken jaw.

Acting Parramatta captain Glenn Morrison implored referee Steve Clark to refer the incident to video referee Chris Ward, yelling "I've just lost a player because of an elbow".

But Clark dismissed the pleas, despite the fact hooker PJ Marsh also complained about Cross leading with the elbow just a few moments later.

"I was next to him and he led with the elbow," Morrison said in the post-match media conference.

"I asked the ref if I could speak to him but he didn't really want to.

"I said to him I'd already spoken to him during the night about them leading with the elbow on another occasion.

"I asked him to have a look at it and at least put it on report because we'd lost a player and an interchange, but he didn't want to know it.

"Then he finally said there was a head clash - I was there, it wasn't a head clash."

Pressed further on the matter, Morrison said: "I don't think we have another $10,000 to keep commenting on things, I'll leave it at that."

Penrith coach John Lang didn't think there was much in the incident.

"He's obviously hit him with his arm but I didn't think there was anything malicious in it from what I could see on the screen, so everybody can make their own judgement," Lang said.

The game threatened to explode at the half-hour mark, when Penrith hooker Luke Priddis accused opposing rake Marsh of headbutting in a scrum.

In the end it was Priddis who had the last laugh, scoring two first-half tries and setting up two others to hand the Eels their eighth loss of the season and almost certainly bury their chances of making the semi-finals.

Despite the loss, Taylor described his first week at the helm "enormously enjoyable" and said the performance was an encouraging one.

"Having said that it's a bit of a fairytale for me at the moment and I know I'll be grounded in a few weeks if we don't sing the victory song in the dressing room after the game.

"We can build on that, definitely, we'll get some players back next week and ... we will get better."

The Eels came out in the opening exchanges showing a spirit that had been missing for much of their 2006 campaign, with cult hero Fuifui Moimoi leading the way.

But after the Eels jumped out to a 10-0 lead, fill-in five-eighth Luke Lewis and Priddis took control for the Panthers.

The Eels narrowed the gap to six at halftime, but Cross' controversial try ended any hope of a comeback.

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