The Penrith Panthers have won the 2022 NRL Grand Final 28-12 against the Parramatta Eels, making them the second NRL team this century to go back-to-back.

The Parramatta Eels were fighting for their life at Accor Stadium in Sydney, not unlike this earth-shattering photo of Jimmy Barnes performing as part of the pre-game entertainment. It’s giving me, who is deeply allergic to nuts, accidentally eating chocolate made from hazelnuts.

Jimmy Barnes screams into a microphone with a pained expression on his face.
Go off! Photo credit: Channel Nine.

Stephen Crichton scored the first try for the Panthers about 20 minutes into the match, bringing the score to 6-0.

Brian To’o extended the Panthers’ lead and upped the score by four points and minutes later, Nathan Cleary added a penalty goal from right in front. The defending premiers were leading 12-0.

Then it was Scott Sorensen‘s time to shine, grabbing the ball that Cleary kicked into goddamn empty space and scoring a try — the Panthers were leading 18-0.

The second half didn’t start with a bang for the Panthers after they conceded a penalty. But minutes later, To’o went off and scored a controversial try that was reviewed for a hot minute, before it was given to the Panthers — the lead extended to 22-0.

Things weren’t looking good for Eels fans, unfortunately. They were giving it a red hot go but the Panthers were just too damn strong — much like the relationship between these creatures in the animal kingdom, if I may say so. A panther would conquer an eel any day of the week.

But in the final minutes of the game, captain Clint Gutherson got the Eels off zero. Thank God, ‘cos it would’ve been a wee bit embarrassing if they scored zilch in the grand final.

And there was more good news to come for the Eels — Jake Arthur nailed a try.

It wasn’t enough to make a comeback, however, with the Panthers going on to win their fourth premiership.

“I think that first half was the best we’ve ever played,” Cleary said after the game.

Source: Getty Images / Mark Kolbe