2022 NRL Grand Final: Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels guide and preview

Match details

  • Who: Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels
  • When: Sunday 2 October, 7.30 pm AEDT
  • Where: Accor Stadium, Sydney
  • Tickets are sold out
  • Weather: min 13, max 19. 60% chance of rain, 0 to 4 mm
  • Head-to-head record: Played 106. Panthers 45 wins. Eels 60 wins. 1 draw.

The NRLW Grand Final between the Parramatta Eels and Newcastle Knights will kick off at 3.55 pm AEDT, with both sides to play in their first decider in the competition’s five-year history. The Eels won just one game in the regular season before upsetting the Roosters 24-10 to reach the final, while the Knights finished second on the ladder and thumped the Dragons 30-6 in the other semi. Click here for more details on the match.

Grand Final Entertainment

  • Mahalia Barnes, A.GIRL, Emma Donovan, Jimmy Barnes, Diesel, Josh Teskey, Sheldon Riley, Bliss n Eso featuring JOY, Alinta Chidzey

Line ups

Dylan Edwards 1 Clinton Gutherson
Charlie Staines 2 Maika Sivo
Izack Tago 3 Viliami Panini
Stephen Crichton 4 Bailey Simonsson
Brian To’o 5 Waqa Blake
Jarome Luai 6 Dylan Brown
Nathan Cleary 7 Mitchell Moses
Moses Leota 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
Apisai Koroisau 9 Reed Mahoney
James Fisher-Harris 10 Junior Paulo
Viliame Kikau 11 Shaun Lane
Liam Martin 12 Isaiah Papali’i
Isaiah Yeo 13 Ryan Matterson
Mitch Kenny 14 Nathan Brown
Scott Sorensen 15 Jakob Arthur
Spencer Lenin 16 Oregon Kaufusi
Jaeman Salmon 17 Marata Niukore
Sean O’Sullivan 18 Bryce Cartwright
Matthew Eisenhuth 19 Marchesi Makaton
J’maine Hopgood 20 Tom Opacic
Sunia Turuva 21 Ofahiki Ogden
Chris Smith 22 Ky Rodwell

The Panthers have kept the same 17 that beat the Rabbitohs with Taylan May still out due to a hamstring issue.

Brad Arthur has made a surprise change to his Eels side, with veteran Nathan Brown returning on the bench for Bryce Cartwright.

2022 Finals summary


The Panthers came into the finals as clear favorites and they have lived up to that title with two impressive victories.

After a tense opening half against Parramatta in week one of the finals, Penrith put their foot down to claim a 27-8 victory at home.

They then had a week off and despite being down 12-0 early against the Bunnies, once again the Panthers took control to take an easy 32-12 win and book their third straight Grand Final appearance.

Penrith has an even contribution from their squad with stars all across the park, but Dylan Edwards has probably been the pick of the lot over the first two finals.


The Eels have gone the long way to the Grand Final, losing their first final before winning their next two on the trot.

They took it up to Penrith for the first 50 minutes but just couldn’t keep up the intensity for the full 80 minutes while losing halfback Mitchell Moses also hurt their chances.

Parramatta responded to that loss with a 40-4 thrashing of Canberra in the Semi-Final before claiming a comeback 24-20 victory over the Cowboys to seal their first Grand Final appearance since 2009.

They’ve had a number of players step up over the last two weeks but Shaun Lane might be the pick of the lot and shapes as a key figure if Parramatta is to claim their first premiership since 1986.

Key matchups

Halfback – Nathan Cleary (Panthers) v Mitchell Moses (Eels)

The two No.7s have been pivotal to the success of their respective sides this year and the grand final will be no different. Panthers half Cleary was in peerless form against the Eels in the first final with his towering and floating bombs too hard to handle for winger Waqa Blake. Like all the great players he has so much time to pass, kick or run and he nearly always takes the right option.

Moses does not get the same rave reviews but his game has gone to a new level in 2022. The Eels playmaker, who became a father last week to a baby daughter, also has a stellar kicking game and when he puts the foot down he is capable of carving up the best defenses. Moses has 23 try assists from 25 appearances this year and Cleary has 17 try assists from his 16 games.

Fullback – Dylan Edwards (Panthers) v Clint Gutherson (Eels)

It is hard to imagine two fullbacks with more willpower, passion, and attention to detail than these two. Edwards and Gutherson are everywhere, all the time.

The big play and the one-percenters are both as important to the duo. Edwards, averaging 220m per game this year, had a season-high 14 tackle busts last week in the preliminary final win over South Sydney. He is in rare form even for him.

The man known as ‘King Gutho’ is not as prolific with his run meters but functions as an extra playmaker as his 18 try assists for the season highlight. Whoever has the best game could well decide the grand final.

Prop – James Fisher-Harris (Panthers) v Junior Paulo (Eels)

Vastly different from players these are two of the leading props in the game and set the tone for how their teams perform. Panthers warrior Fisher-Harris and Eels wrecking ball Paulo are both averaging 146m per game.

Fisher-Harris also has a tackle efficiency of 95.1 percent. Those stats don’t explain the venom and purpose with which he approaches his work. He provides a real fear factor.

Paulo’s 45 offloads for the year, compared to his opponent’s 15, a showcase where they differ. Paulo creates the second phase play for the Eels and has a pass any halfback would be proud of.


Last 5 meetings

This will be the fourth clash between the sides this season, with the Eels claiming the first two before Penrith won the Qualifying Final.

It will also be the third finals meeting in the past two seasons after Penrith just held on against Parramatta in a Semi-Final last season.

Pre-match predictions

Top prop: James Fisher-Harris to be the best prop on the ground with 175+ run meters and two offloads.

Shake ‘n Blake: Waqa Blake to shake off a tackle to score a try.

Score: Penrith 20 – 14 Parramatta

Clive Churchill Medal: Dylan Edwards


It will be a battle of the West in the 2022 NRL Grand Final as reigning premiers Penrith Panthers take on rivals Parramatta Eels. The Panthers will compete in their third consecutive Grand Final and will be full of confidence after recording a dominant win in their preliminary final clash with South Sydney Rabbitohs last week. For the Eels, this will be their first appearance in the showpiece since 2009 and they will be desperate to claim their first Premiership since 1986. They showed great character and defensive resolve to stay in their game with North Queensland Cowboys before doing what was required to claim the victory. They have defeated the Panthers on two occasions so far this week but were beaten in the first week of the finals and that one-sided loss could play on their minds. Penrith has been a well-oiled machine for a few seasons now and will take some beating having won five of the past seven matchups between the two teams. The Eels are capable of winning but would need to be at their very best if they are to upset the odds and having struggled for large spells in last week’s game with the Cowboys, it is hard to see them improving sufficiently to stop the Panthers from going back-to-back.

source by: https://canberraweekly.com.au/

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