- As it happened
- Brad Arthur insists loss of Jarryd Hayne wasn't the difference
- Ivan Cleary refuses to get carried away with rising Panthers
In the absence of Jarryd Hayne, the Eels looked a shadow of the team that has climbed into the top four, humiliated by the Panthers in the battle of the west on Friday night.
Rising Panthers ease past pale Eels
The Panthers put the Eels to the sword in front of the first sell out crowd at Penrith since 2010.
After his dynamic showing for the Blues just two days earlier, Hayne was given the night off to watch the Panthers run riot in the 38-12 win in front of the biggest crowd at the foot of the mountains in four years.
For the Eels fans among the 19,141 that made the short trip up the M4 for the local derby, there was very little to cheer about on a night Parramatta showed little fight or resistance as Penrith celebrated their third consecutive win to cement second position on the ladder.
Tyrone Peachey produced one of his best performances of his short career, bagging a try double to help avenge the disappointment of the loss at Pirtek Stadium to the Eels back in round four.
Winger Josh Mansour also grabbed a brace for the Panthers down the edge of Will Hopoate, who did his Origin ambitions no favours after Penrith ran in six of their seven tries down his side of the field.
The Eels were soft in defence and disorganised in attack, hardly threatening the Panthers without their superstar No.1. The scoreline flattered the Eels, who scored two late tries after the Panthers ran out to a 30-0 lead after 60 minutes.
With Jamal Idris omitted from the team midweek after he was stood down by the club for personal reasons, Isaah Yeo was thrown into the centres and was rewarded with the first try of his career.
However, the victory could come at a price for the Panthers, who lost centre Dean Whare with a knee injury in the first half and prop Sam McKendry with a leg injury inside the final 10 minutes of the game.
The Eels also copped their fair share of injuries, with Darcy Lussick tearing cartilage in his knee and Nathan Peats taken from the field after aggravating a knee injury that saw him ruled out of the City-Origin team a month ago.
The Eels could also be without Mitchell Allgood in the coming rounds after he was placed on report for a dangerous throw on Mansour late in the contest.
While Justin Hunt's first game in Eels colours was one to forget after a horror night for the former South Sydney back, Bryce Cartwright showed plenty of class in his limited minutes on debut.
It didn't take long for the Panthers to post first points of the night, with Mansour pouncing on a Soward grubber to give the home side a 6-0 lead after five minutes.
The Panthers then lost Whare to a knee injury, forcing a reshuffle in the backline, with Lewis Brown slotting into the centres.
The Eels then lost Darcy Lussick for the match with torn cartilage in his knee, before hooker James Segeyaro exploited some weak defence and crashed over from close range to give the Panthers a 12-0 lead.
A chip over the top from Peter Wallace was spilled by Hunt, allowing Elijah Taylor to pick up the scraps and send Peachey on a 40-metre sprint to the tryline to give the Panthers an 18-0 lead at the break.
The second half started as the first ended, with Peachey showing a clean pair of heels after breaking off a tackle from Chris Sandow and Hopoate to grab his second try of the night.
Yeo then made it 30-0, before the Eels scored two tries through Pauli Pauli and Corey Norman to try and gain some respectability.
However, that prospect was blown out of the water courtesy of late tries to Mansour and Soward.