The premiership drought for the Eels has continued for another year, completely outclassed by Penrith in a disappointing NRL Grand Final.
Parramatta struggled with the enormous pressure in the first-half, allowing the red-hot Panthers to take an 18-0 lead into the break.
Penrith continued to pile on the points in the second-half, finishing with a 28-12 victory at Accor Stadium.
The Sporting News have rated the performance of every Eels player in their grand final defeat.
1. Clint Gutherson – 3
It was a tough night for Clint Gutherson in his first NRL grand final, despite scoring a late consolation try for Parramatta.
The fullback failed to stop multiple tries in cover defence, before being caught out of position for a Nathan Cleary grubber kick that led to Scott Sorensen’s try.
He dropped a bomb late in the game and took 16 runs for just 96 metres, adding very little out of his own end.
2. Maika Sivo – 4
The big Fijian flyer was dominated by the Penrith defence early on, but continued to put his best foot forward out of trouble and came up with some good takes under the high ball.
Sivo unfortunately bombed a certain try in the 56th minute, dropping the ball a metre out for the line and costing his side the chance to mount a comeback.
3. Will Penisini – 3
Looked dangerous in small patches, but had limited involvement or opportunity and finished with just seven runs.
Penisini finished with 10 runs for 82 metres and set up a try late in the game.
4. Bailey Simonsson – 4
Took some tough carries early on and made some decent ground despite the Penrith pressure, finishing with over 150 run metres.
Simonsson made a nice break off a kick inside their own half, but was chased down and bundled into touch when he should have came back in-field and continue the momentum.
The centre left the field with a shoulder injury in the second-half and didn’t return.
5. Waqa Blake – 4
Saved a try that would have put the Panthers 24-0 up before the break, but came up with a crucial error in his own 20 metres just after half-time.
Blake worked hard but managed very little impact with the ball, finishing with just 69 run metres.
6. Dylan Brown – 4
Some poor defence from the five-eighth led to Penrith’s first try, and he lacked the impact Parramatta required in attack despite finishing with 121 run metres.
Brown tried his best to spark the Eels at different periods, but to no avail.
7. Mitchell Moses – 4
The halfback couldn’t get many good kicks away and when he was able to, continued to direct them towards Dylan Edwards and Brian To’o instead of Charlie Staines on the other wing.
Moses didn’t rise to the occasion and was completely outclassed by his opposing halfback in a disappointing display, only showing his attacking prowess when the game was done and dusted.
8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard – 4
Lacked his usual punch through the middle, taking just four carries for less than 30 metres in the first-half.
Campbell-Gillard wouldn’t add much in the second-half, finishing with just 63 run metres and 36 tackles for the match.
9. Reed Mahoney – 5
Was spoken about as the man to pressure Nathan Cleary, but outside of once or twice early on, he failed to deliver.
Mahoney tried hard despite the possession and field position going against his side, and finished with over 50 tackles in defence.
10. Junior Paulo – 3
Similar to his front-row partner, was unable to lay a platform for the Eels in the first-half and didn’t return in the second-half until the game was out of reach.
Paulo finished with nine runs for 83 metres and produced two offloads, but a lot of that came when the game was over and his quiet performance early on was a huge downfall.
11. Shaun Lane – 5
Over-chased on Nathan Cleary for Penrith’s first try and opened up a big hole. Took some big carries and looked dangerous with ball in hand despite limited opportunities.
Lane finished with 12 runs for 105 metres and worked hard in defence with 35 tackles and just two misses.
12. Isaiah Papali’i – 4
Touched the ball twice in the first-half for just 15 run metres and missed six tackles in an uncharacteristically quiet performance from one of the competition’s best edge forwards.
Papali’i added plenty more touches in the second-half, but lacked the impact we have come to expect from him and fell short in a boat load of his assignments in defence, despite finishing with just shy of 50 tackles.
17. Marata Niukore – 3
Started the game at lock but managed just one run before being subbed off.
Niukore returned to the field in the centres to replace Bailey Simonsson, but the game was over by that point.
13. Ryan Matterson – 6
Came off the bench and looked to spark them despite a big deficit. Produced three of his trademark offloads and ran for more metres than any other Eels forward.
Matterson finished with 22 runs for 156 metres and was easily the best player in the losing side.
14. Nathan Brown – 3
After all the talk in the lead-up surrounding Brown’s inclusion, he added very little off the bench,
The lock forward finished with seven runs for 59 metres and made 16 tackles.
15. Jake Arthur – N/A
Came on with five minutes remaining when his side was down 28-0, so it’s tough to rate him in comparison to the rest of the side. Parramatta managed to score two tries in that period and even better, he crossed for one of them.
16. Oregon Kaufusi – 3
Came on before the break and took some solid carries, finishing with 46 run metres in less than half an hour on the field.