Parramatta Eels have picked up their first victory of the 2023 NRL season, claiming a golden point thriller to win a rematch of the 2022 grand final against reigning premiers Penrith Panthers.
With scores locked at 16-all at full time, Eels halfback Mitchell Moses - fresh from inking a new deal with the club - calmly slotted a field goal attempt, ending the match in Parramatta's favour.
Even getting to golden point seemed unlikely for the Panthers, who have just one win after the year's first four rounds, who trailed 16-14 in the dying stages, only for halfback Nathan Cleary to land a two-point field goal and equalise.
In an arm wrestle match, Parramatta failed to put the Panthers away, despite taking the lead twice.
In the first half, back rower Bryce Cartwright opened the scoring, before a Moses penalty gave the Eels an 8-0 lead.
But the Panthers came right back, as fullback Dylan Edwards grabbed Penrith's first try, while a penalty to Cleary right on halftime sent the two sides into the break level at 8-8.
Eels debutant Brendan Hands looked to have sealed his side's win, crossing over midway through the second half for a 16-8 lead after another Cleary penalty.
However, Penrith forward Zac Hosking scored in the 71st minute, setting the platform for Cleary's equaliser just minutes from full time - aided by Parramatta's Junior Paulo being sent to the sin bin, and seeing the Eels finish with 12.
Victory lifts the Eels to 13th on the NRL ladder after their first four games, but have the chance to be passed by Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights and North Queensland Cowboys over the coming weekend.
The Panthers meanwhile remain fifth, despite only having one victory, courtesy of two points from a bye week.
Parramatta Eels 17 (Cartwright, Hands tries; Moses 2 conversions, Moses 2 penalties, Moses field goal)
Penrith Panthers 16 (Edwards, Hosking tries; Cleary 2 conversions, Cleary penalty, Cleary field goal)2023-03-23T17:34:09Z dg43tfdfdgfd