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NRL Grand Final Review

Credit: IMAGO / AAP

Penrith Panthers defended their NRL title with a scintillating display in the Accor Stadium in Sydney, blowing away the Parramatta Eels to run out 28-12 winners in Sunday’s Grand Final.

Success saw the Panthers emulate the Roosters, who won back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019, while the Eels 36 wait for glory rolls on for another 12 months.

And we’ve taken a closer look at all the action and talking points from the 2022 NRL Grand Final.

Panthers pounce early

The Panthers headed into their third consecutive Grand Final as firm favourites and having won 67 of their last 78 matches – highlighting what a dominant force they have become.

And they asserted that dominance in devastating style in Sydney – running in three unopposed tries in the opening 30 minutes to go in at the half-time break 18-0 up.

Centre Stephen Crichton got the Panthers off to the perfect start, scything his way through the Eels defence to score inside 10 minutes.

That was quickly followed up with Brian To’o going in at the corner – his sixth try in his last four appearances – before Scott Sorensen latched onto a Nathan Clearly grubber kick to put the Panthers in complete control at the half-time hooter.

Eels lack spark

Parramatta fans would have hoped their side would have come out all guns blazing for the second half, but the second period got off to the worst possible start for the Eels when Brian To’o scored his second and the Panthers fourth try of the game.

And it was to get worse for the Eels when Charlie Staines barrelled over to put the Panthers 28-0 up and out of touch.

The Eels did have chances at the start of the second half – Maika Sivo dropped the ball when it looked easier to score, and Bailey Simonsson was unlucky not to run in a try from his own half.

Parramatta eventually got on the scoreboard, scoring two late tries to put some respectability on the scoreboard.

Clint Gutherson and Jakob Arthur went over in quick succession in the final five minutes, but it was far too little too late as the Panthers defended their crown.

Penrith to land three?

The Panthers will fancy their chances of landing a hat-trick of titles next year, aiming to become the first side to do so since the Eels squad of the early 1980s

They are already the bookmakers’ favourites for next season, and they’re likely to hold on to most of their main stars over the break as they aim for history guided by father and son Ivan and Nathan Cleary.

For the Eels, however, they are losing Reed Mahoney, Marata Niukore, Oregon Kaufusi, Tom Opacic, Ray Stone and Isaiah Papali’i – it’s hard to see them being competitive next year as they rebuild.

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