Kieran Foran’s new life at Parramatta has gotten off to a winning start, with a grinding 22-8 NRL trial victory over Penrith.
The star recruit was quiet in his club debut on Saturday night, largely servicing his flanks before bowing out with fellow big-name signing Michael Jennings at the hour mark.
All eyes at Pepper Stadium were on the former Manly playmaker, but halves partner Corey Norman was the one who shone, playing a hand in two of the Eels’ four tries, including Jennings’ first in Eels colours.
Parramatta forwards Tepai Moeroa and Manu Ma’u joined Norman as standouts for coach Brad Arthur, while a streamlined Waqa Blake was Penrith’s best.
Panthers skipper Matt Moylan punched out an entire night’s shift for the first time since returning from a major ankle injury, while new buy Trent Merrin lasted an hour in his first outing for the club.
In wet conditions at the foot of the mountains, a crowd of 5,580 watched two rusty outfits suffer ill-discipline, mostly at the ruck and with their hands.
Up 12-8 at the break, a defensively sound Eels side shut out their opposition in the second half, with Norman setting up Clinton Gutherson and Junior Paulo crashing over late.
In the first half, a busy Moeroa was rewarded for his early grunt work with a try from close range, to which the Panthers’ Josh Mansour replied with signature dive in the corner.
Blake and Jennings also traded four-pointers. The reliable boots of Michael Gordon were the difference when the Eels went into the sheds with a four-point lead.
Panthers utility Isaah Yeo was put on report for a first-half crusher tackle on Tim Mannah.