Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels 2022 NRL Grand Final preview


Reigning champions Penrith Panthers look to become the second side since 1998 to win back-to-back Premierships, as they lock horns with Parramatta Eels who are seeking a first title in the NRL era.

A competition like no other, the NRL is the highest standard of rugby league in the world. On Sunday morning at 9:30am, BST, the 2022 NRL Grand Final will be getting underway in what is set to be a huge clash between two Western Sydney rivals.

Just 38Km splits their home grounds, a 30-minute drive to put it into perspective. Parramatta are closer to central Sydney meaning they have the slightest of advantages because they have to travel the smaller distance to the venue of the final, the Accor Stadium.

Penrith Panthers

Under coach Ivan Cleary Penrith finished the league as the Minor Premiers for the second time in three years, after an explosive first 19 rounds of the season saw them top the table by eight points. Having lost top spot in round nine, they reclaimed it again in round 10 and never looked back, leading the league since that point.

It has been ups and downs for Penrith in the NRL era, however, never higher than where they are now, with a chance at being just the second side in this current format to win back-to-back Premierships.

The club has won three Premierships in total, two of these coming in the last 25 years of the NRL. They have also collected two Wooden Spoons in that period for coming bottom of the league.

Parramatta Eels

Led by Brad Arthur, the Eels managed to wriggle their way into a fourth-place finish in the final round of the season, having not featured inside the top four after any weekend since round seven.

Parramatta came bottom of the league in 2018 so it would be a huge achievement to win a Premiership so soon afterwards.

They also finished bottom of the league in 2012 and 2013 and are one of only four clubs that have never won a Premiership in the NRL era, but they have lost twice in the Grand Final, most recently in 2009.

The Eels have won 4 premierships in their history. All four of these came in the span of six years with their most recent success coming in 1986. Their supporters will therefore be desperate for their club to end a 36-year baron spell.


Penrith finished the league eight points above Parramatta with four more victories in the regular season.

Penrith started the 2022 campaign winning eight matches on the trot. The first time they faced the Eels back in May for round nine, their winning streak came to an end after Parramatta edged out a two-point victory.

The Panthers then went on to win every game after that until round 20 in July, where they again lost to Parramatta, meaning that 50% of their four losses in the regular season were against the Eels.

The two sides then met again in the first round of the finals, a game which Penrith won, earning a week off whilst forcing the Eels to get to the final the hard way, playing an extra match.

Since 1998 the pair have faced off on 48 occasions, 25 of those were won by the Panthers, with the remaining 23 going the way of the Eels. Penrith’s win percentage overall in the past 25 years is 50%, one percent higher than Parramatta’s.

The two clubs have always been at a similar level in the NRL era, however, recently the Panthers have exploded away from the Eels. Their win percentage this season is 18% higher than Parramatta’s.

As for the key players. You cannot look past the two club’s halfbacks, Nathan Cleary and Mitchell Moses. They will provide the spark for their sides on Sunday and arguably, whichever one of these two performs the best will be walking away with the trophy.

Parramatta’s Moses provided the most try assists of any individual in 2022, whilst Penrith’s Cleary had the best percentage of try assists per game, with 17 in 16 matches, whilst Moses returned 23 from 25 games.

Team news

Starting with Penrith, Ivan Cleary has named an unchanged 17 to the side that beat South Sydney is last week’s semi-final, after their top try scorer in 2022 Taylan May, failed to overcome a hamstring injury.

Team sheet 1-17; Dylan Edwards, Charlie Staines, Izack Tago, Stephen Crichton, Brian To’o, Jarome Luai, Nathan Cleary, Moses Leota, Apisai Koroisau, James Fisher-Harris, Viliame Kikau, Liam Martin, Isaah Yeo, Mitch Kenny, Scott Sorensen, Spencer Leniu, Jaeman Salmon.

Moving on to the Eels, Brad Arthur has stuck solid and picked his son Jake, despite the playmaker spending the entire semi-final on the bench. Furthermore, front rower Nathan Brown has earned a recall on the bench at the expense of Brice Cartwright.

Team sheet 1-17; Clinton Gutherson, Maika Sivo, Will Penisini, Bailey Simonsson, Waqa Blake, Dylan Brown, Mitchell Moses, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Reed Mahoney, Junior Paulo, Shaun Lane, Isaiah Papali’I, Ryan Matterson, Nathan Brown, Jake Arthur, Oregon Kaufusi, Marata Niukore.


Follow us on Twitter @ProstInt


About Author

Comments are closed.