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Parramatta pile on Penrith misery in NRL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/04/2017 Scott Bailey

Parramatta Eels players celebrate after a Panthers mistake with seconds to play during the Round 8 NRL match. © AAP Image/Craig Golding Parramatta Eels players celebrate after a Panthers mistake with seconds to play during the Round 8 NRL match. A Corey Norman masterclass for Parramatta has condemned Penrith to their fourth-straight defeat as the Panthers' woeful start to the NRL season continued.

Norman scored two tries and set up the other in the Eels' 18-12 win at ANZ Stadium, as Penrith fell from pre-season equal favouritism to two-and-six from the opening eight rounds.

While Norman starred for the Eels, the Panthers' halves floundered as Bryce Cartwright returned at five-eighth for the injured Te Maire Martin.

Cartwright struggled to make an impact in his first game since round two, in his comeback game from an ankle injury.

He let the opening kick off go over the dead-ball line, forcing the Panthers in to a drop out from their own goal line.

Minutes later he fumbled a Brad Takairangi grubber in goal and failed to ground it, allowing Norman to score his first.

Parramatta Eels celebrate try by Corey Norman. © AAP Image/Craig Golding Parramatta Eels celebrate try by Corey Norman. Cartwright also twice dropped the ball on the attack for the Panthers, and threw a crucial forward pass as Penrith were threatening to make a late charge with 20 minutes remaining.

In comparison, Norman was sensational in the opening half but did it tough in the second without a regular five-eighth, after makeshift partner Takairangi was taken from the field with a knee injury.

After the Eels were controversially denied a try midway through the first half when the bunker ruled Clinton Gutherson had knocked on a similar ball to that of Brisbane Anthony Milford on Friday night, Norman steadied the ship.

The 26-year-old kicked perfectly for Semi Radradra just moments before half-time to extend their lead to 12 points at the break.

Norman was then in the thick of the action immediately after the break, latching onto a Gutherson kick that came from a Kaysa Pritchard break on the last tackle.

Penrith threatened to mount a comeback when they broke a 126-minute point-scoring drought as Peta Hiku finished a left-edge movement.

They had their second try in the 77th minute when Corey Harawira-Naera crossed but the Eels held on to revive their season with back-to-back wins improving their record to four wins and four losses.

Josh Hoffman of the Eels tackles Nathan Cleary of the Panthers. © AAP Image/Craig Golding Josh Hoffman of the Eels tackles Nathan Cleary of the Panthers.
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