NRL Grand Final 2022: Penrith Panthers player ratings

Penrith dominated their western Sydney rivals from start to finish to cap a remarkable campaign, as they became premiers for the second consecutive year. 

It was a ruthless performance with the Eels barely given a sniff. The Panthers’ fullback Dylan Edwards was simply incredible at the back, while the forward pack set the platform for the likes of Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary to play off the back of.

1. Dylan Edwards – 10

Combined with Stephen Crichton for Penrith’s first try, then saved one in the second stanza by hauling Bailey Simonsson over the sideline to preserve his side’s big lead. A set later, he provided the final pass to send Charlie Staines over which all but ended the contest.

A mazy kick return typified his brilliance against a shattered opposition defence, as his relentless running continued until the very end. He cracked the 200m mark on the way to claiming the Clive Churchill Medal for best on ground.

2. Charlie Staines – 7

Put his hand up for plenty of tough carries after being drafted into the side due to an injury to Taylan May. He finished with a four-pointer and over 100 metres in his first appearance in a grand final.

3. Izack Tago – 7

Solid display from the centre who got through his work with minimal fuss. He went off for a head injury assessment but returned to the field to close out the game.

4. Stephen Crichton – 7.5

Scored the first points of the match when he was turned inside by Edwards after a quick shift orchestrated by Cleary. The centre beat two men before getting over the line.

In the second half, he made a try-saving tackle when he stopped Maika Sivo one-on-one with the line at the big Fijian’s mercy.

5. Brian To’o – 10

The winger was at his barnstorming best throughout, with his strong carries out of the backfield constantly putting his team on the front foot. He notched two tries, made a game-high 24 runs for just shy of 250m, while making three linebreaks and also forcing a drop-out.

6. Jarome Luai – 8

He didn’t see much of the ball, but when he did, the five-eighth made sure to make the most of it. He troubled Parramatta’s defence constantly with his footwork, laying on two tries and being the perfect foil for his halves partner. 

7. Nathan Cleary – 8.5

Looked as comfortable and confident on the big stage as he’s ever been which was showcased by a no-look pass to Luai five minutes into the second half. Narrowly missed capping a dominant display with a try when he lost control of the ball close to the line. He orchestrated his side’s attack with precision. 

8. Moses Leota – 8.5

Crunched Sivo in defence and let him know about it, then followed it up with a big hit on Dylan Brown a tackle or two later. The prop was incredibly busy in a brutal first stint.

His 75 metres and 15 tackles don’t look amazing on paper, but it was the intensity of his work that lifted his side and laid the platform.

14. Mitch Kenny – 6.5

The hooker played his part for the team when he spent the first 15 minutes in dummy-half, before Api Koroisau came on and he moved into a role as an extra forward.

10. James Fisher-Harris – 8.5

A typically busy match from the Kiwi international who ran for over 100 metres and made 29 tackles. It’s fair to say – along with Leota – the two props won their personal battle against the big men from the Eels.

11. Viliame Kikau – 7

The backrower came within a whisker of scoring his side’s fourth but was beaten to a loose ball by Waqa Blake. Besides that, it was a steady final game in a Penrith jersey from the Fijian. 

12. Liam Martin – 9

Aggressive in the tackle from the very first set, wrestling with Clint Gutherson before stopping Sivo dead in his tracks. He didn’t stop all evening, racking up a game-high 39 tackles while also running for 125m.

13. Isaah Yeo – 8.5

A standard knock from Yeo, with the co-captain notching over 100 metres and over 30 tackles in a display which confirmed – if there remained any doubts – that he is the best lock in the game.

9. Api Koroisau – 7

Came on and straight away set about manipulating the ruck to Penrith’s advantage. He forced a drop-out with a little grubber into the in-goal, while doing all the little things which will make him such a huge loss to the Panthers next season. 

15. Scott Sorensen – 7.5

Came on around 25 minutes in and scored with one of his first touches of the game when he profited off a nice kick from Cleary. The interchange forward was tireless in defence, making 24 tackles along with his 75 metres in a relatively short but quality stint.

16. Spencer Leniu – 7

Brought his usual intensity off the pine, with his quick play-the-balls and physicality in his carries troubling the defensive line.

17. Jaeman Salmon – N/A

Entered into the fray after Tago went off for a HIA and immediately made a last-ditch effort in defence which saved a possible try.

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