The Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels have both secured their spots for the 2022 NRL Grand Final kicking off next Sunday. This will be a battle for the ages so let’s take a look at both their journeys to the finals stage and their club’s finals records.
Through to the finals after a controversial win against the North Queensland Cowboys, Parramatta are in their first grand final since 2009. Their last NRL premiership came in 1986, capping off a successful era for the club after also winning in 1981, 1982, and 1983.
Since then, the Eels have reached the grand final in 2001 and 2009 and won the minor premiership in 2001 and 2005. With a chance to break the 36-year-old drought plenty of pressure is on this current Eels crop to get the job done.
The Blue and Gold have won 16 games and lost eight in the season, beating Penrith in Round 9 and Round 20. Round 20 saw Nathan Cleary being sent off in the 18th minute after a spear tackle which resulted in a 5-game suspension of the New South Wales half-back.
Although getting the win in their season meetings, Parramatta lost to Penrith in their in the first week of the finals, thanks largely to a Nathan Cleary kicking master class, Parramatta will have to come up with the answers they couldn’t a fortnight ago.
Penrith have been outstanding for the past three seasons and will be hoping to join the illustrious back-to-back premiership club in a bid to solidify their squad as one of the greatest of all time. Having won 20 out of the 25 games, the Panthers will be hoping this isn’t their 1/5 off game.
Penrith locked themselves in for their third straight grand final after putting on a second half rugby league showcase, coming from down 12 points in the first half, Penrith proceeded to score 36 unanswered points, in a statement win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Big moments make rugby league, and none were bigger than Brian To’o’s soul-crushing intercept try on the stroke of halftime, which put Penrith into top gear. Panthers’ fans will be hoping the men in black will have plenty more big moments at the big dance.
The Panthers have won 66 of their 77 matches since the start of 2020, with 10 losses and one draw. Their finals record across the past three seasons is seven wins and just two losses, including when they went down to the Melbourne Storm in the 2020 decider.
Penrith have won three premierships in history: 1991, 2003 and 2021, and they’ll be looking to get a back-to-back victory. They held an unattainable lead at the top of the ladder this season and secured the club’s fourth Minor Premiership.
Heading into the Grand Final both teams will be hoping to use their stellar forward packs to lay a platform for their damaging outside backs. With Parramatta’s Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Junior Paulo clashing front on with Penrith’s James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota, the battle of the pack will decide the Grand Final.