Panthers win spirited clash against Tigers
36 mins ago | Justin Davies
A Maika Sivo hattrick has powered the Parramatta Eels to a 32-16 win over the Manly Sea Eagles at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night.
The win sees Parramatta leapfrog Manly into fifth position, meaning they likely play either the Tigers or Sharks in week one of the finals with Manly hosting Brisbane.
It caps off a stunning year for the club who, along with the Sea Eagles, found themselves struggling at the bottom of the ladder the same time last season.
Perhaps the team's turnaround is best summed up by Sivo's debut campaign, with the barnstorming Fijian also coming out of nowhere to establish himself as one of the game's most damaging wingers.
Sivo's second-half hattrick, which secured the victory for Parramatta, sees him jump two tries ahead of Latrell Mitchell on the try scorers list.
Both sides will have nervous waits with Martin Taupau and Kane Evans both sent to the sin bin for dangerous head-high tackles that could see them wiped out of next week's games.
Parramatta impressed early with quick tries to Michael Jennings and Clint Gutherson, the former scoring off a break from Sivo.
A couple of penalty goals saw the Eels push further ahead of a Manly side that, while promising at times, lacked polish in attack.
They eventually hit back through Manase Fainu, with the livewire hooker scoring a double in the second forty.
But a string of late tries to Sivo proved the difference.
The Eels will now regroup with a likely Saturday final against either Wests Tigers or Cronulla, depending on the outcome of the next few days. As mentioned earlier, Manly will likely host the Broncos at Lottoland - predicted for Sunday afternoon in Week 1.
Parramatta Eels 32 - Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 16
Venue: Bankwest Stadium
Halftime Score: Parramatta Eels 14 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 2
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Maika Sivo
2 points - Michael Jennings
1 points - Addin Fonua-Blake
PARRAMATTA EELS (32)
Tries: Michael Jennings, Clint Gutherson, Maika Sivo (3)
Conversions: Mitchell Moses (3/5)
Penalty Goals: Mitchell Moses (3/3)
MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES (16)
Tries: Manase Fainu (2)
Conversions: Reuben Garrick (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Reuben Garrick (2/2)