The sensation was actual.
It won’t appear that manner within the chilly mild of day when the solar rises on a world dominated by the ravenous, unstoppable Panthers, however as the start of the grand remaining drew nearer and nearer what Parramatta followers felt was actual.
Stadium Australia was an Eels place. That they had Penrith lifeless to rights when it got here to the scale and sound of the blue and gold military.
Even when essentially the most cynical Parra individual had tempered their expectations all week within the face of the problem forward, within the moments earlier than kick-off it was unimaginable to not imagine the Eels had been in with a shot of profitable their first grand remaining since 1986.
The lengthy wait may very well be over, the torment ended ultimately. We’d have known as it a fairytale and ultimately it was, as a result of fairytales aren’t actual, some desires do not come true and even when unhealthy occasions do not final the Panthers certain do.
It took about 10 minutes for fear to sink in, which shortly turned to worry and by the point the siren went on Penrith’s 28-12 victory, which secured back-to-back premierships for the Panthers, the consequence was a very long time coming.
Parramatta had been within the battle for the opening phases. The 2 groups went backwards and forwards with out an error or stoppage for nearly seven minutes to start the sport and the Eels held their very own.
Nevertheless it proved to be their downfall whilst they competed onerous and willingly.
Penrith are a staff that’s constructed for the set-for-set grind. They’ve found a strategy to discover pleasure within the battle and it performs to all their strengths – like their athletic ball-carriers, intimidating defence and Nathan Cleary’s kicking sport.
If any staff within the NRL tries and performs them that manner, they are going to lose. Parramatta are not any exception. That is not a slight, it is simply the reality. God has but to invent a staff who can beat Penrith within the grind.
The Eels sport, once they’re at their finest, is wild and shimmering like mild on tough waters. It has offloads and ball motion and the footy zips back and forth so shortly it stretches the opposition till the break up aside.
When Parra performed the Panthers within the first week of the finals, they did not play that manner and had been punished for it and the very same factor occurred on Sunday night time. There’s nothing mistaken with making a mistake however repeating it’s a sin. Regardless of Penrith’s merciless tutorage, the Eels didn’t study.
What was taking place solely sank in when Brian To’o crossed for his first strive halfway by the primary half. It solely made the rating 10-0, however the Eels appeared shell-shocked. They should not have been, as a result of this assault was at all times coming.
There are not any secrets and techniques as to what Penrith need to do or how they need to play. We now have seen it too many occasions over the previous three years for there to be any thriller left.
As soon as on prime, Penrith turned the screws like they at all times do and by half-time the Eels resembled a smouldering pile of blue and gold wreckage. Parramatta didn’t cross the Penrith 40 metre line till the thirty third minute and once they lastly did they gave away a penalty two tackles later.
It took till the thirty ninth minute for them to get a play the ball in Penrith’s 20 metre zone. For Scott Sorensen’s strive, Clint Gutherson was caught so badly out of place he was not seen on the tv replay.
Penrith’s defence was brutalising as ever, however the Eels barely examined them. The one attacking second that stood out was a Dylan Brown kick for Mitchell Moses early within the sort out rely – on the time it felt like a daring transfer, one thing unorthodox to maintain Penrith on their toes, however then nothing else adopted.
The Eels did what they may within the second half however the nightmare was unrelenting. The one solace was Penrith slowing down just a bit and Gutherson and Jakob Arthur getting on the board within the remaining minutes so Parramatta may keep away from the additional humiliation of struggling the worst loss in grand remaining historical past, which did really feel attainable for a second there.
As Penrith have a good time and Parramatta attempt to decide up the items, that is left is that feeling from earlier than the sport. What has already occurred can not change, however what felt so true and highly effective should now really feel somewhat hole.
It is going to hang-out Parramatta all by the summer time. These can really feel very lengthy after shedding a sport like this. However the wait since 1986 is, in fact, an entire lot longer.