Penrith's Nathan Cleary looks on after a try.
Penrith's Nathan Cleary looks on after a try.

‘Precedent set’: Sin bin shocker blow up

The 2018 wooden spooners the Parramatta Eels have claimed a stunning victory over one of the favourites to take out the NRL premiership the Penrith Panthers in Penrith.

The 20-12 win gave long suffering Eels fans some hope for a positive season with a strong start to the year at a rain-soaked Panthers Stadium.

The Eels held a 14-0 lead with 20 minutes to go when Isaah Yeo seemed to drop the ball with new Parramatta winger Maika Sivo strolled to the line for what looked like an unassailable lead.

Replays showed a swinging arm from Eels centre Michael Jennings as Yeo was helped from the field seemingly concussed.

Midway through last season, the ARL Commission endorsed a recommendation to sin bin players when they were taken out of the game through rough play.

"No one wants to see players taken out of the game through acts of foul play," Mr Beattie said at the time.

"Sometimes those acts do not warrant a send off - but they do deserve 10 minutes in the sin bin.

"Until now, the rules did not allow referees to use the sin bin for foul play unless the victim of foul play was forced to leave the field and was unlikely to take any further part of the game."

Jennings didn’t miss the fall Yeo.
Jennings didn’t miss the fall Yeo.

The rule has been in effect since round 15 last year, and referee Ashley Klein enforced it.

"Isaah Yeo is unlikely to return to the rest of the game so you're in the bin," Klein said.

Speaking in Fox League commentary, Michael Ennis and Andrew Voss were in disbelief over the call.

"I know it's high but we're going to have accidents in this game," Ennis said.

He added: "It's careless, it's not deliberate. How do we define that? How can we be certain that Michael Jennings was deliberately swinging his arm?

"It's a big call to lose a player for 10 minutes in the bin for an accident. It's a tough call."

Voss agreed.

"I find it extraordinary that we sin bin Jennings there and Lodge's tackle on Munster the other night he stays on," he said. "We've got to get it sorted out what is and isn't sin bin."

Fans were furious about the call believing a new precedent had been set.

The call brought Penrith back into the game with the side scoring twice with Jennings in the bin.

Hooker Wayde Egan scored in the set after Jennings was sent with James Tamou crashing over next to the posts as the Eel was about to rejoin the action.

However, the Eels defence held 13-on-13 with Michael Jennings scoring his second try late in the game to hand Parramatta a confidence building victory.

Eels coach Brad Arthur said he didn't think there was much in the play that deserved a sin bin.

"I think it was accidental," Arthur said. "He was going in aggressive to complete a tackle and a bloke's fallen. That's a hard one for him but his next action when he came back was that chase where he pushed someone into touch off the kick. They're the rules, I probably hadn't thought about it and had forgotten about it to tell you the truth.

"It was the turning point of the game."

Isaah Yeo was not in a good way.
Isaah Yeo was not in a good way.

The concussion to Yeo took Penrith down to 15 men after they lost Hame Sele to a broken arm in the first half while Nathan Brown left the field with a serious upper body injury.

The result showed a new-look Parramatta with improved determination in defence.

Mitchell Moses symbolised the Eels' improved defence by producing two try-saving tackles in the space of a minute.

First the Eels' chief playmaker stopped Reagan Campbell-Gillard close to the line, before preventing Waqa Blake from cleanly grounding the ball moments later.

There was plenty of anticipation entering the second Cleary era at Penrith, however the home side couldn't have made a worse start.

Numerous mistakes and penalties deep in their own half resulted in the Eels enjoying a 22-4 first half advantage in plays inside the opposition 20-metre zone.

The visitors were also more adventurous with the ball, offloading seven times to one that translated into a two-try lead at the break.

Parramatta's Michael Jennings then became the hero.
Parramatta's Michael Jennings then became the hero.

Marata Niukore took advantage of a Blake Ferguson tapback in the 15th minute, while Jennings was also awarded a controversial try.

The video referee gave the green light despite the Eels centre appearing to have juggled the ball into Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards before spinning over.

- with AAP



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