Prowling Panthers prove their class as security lapse sees protester damage posts in NRL grand final


The Penrith Panthers sealed back-to-back NRL premierships with a thumping of Parramatta in Sunday night’s grand final, as a green protester marred proceedings by tearing padding from the goalposts, and Jimmy Barnes led a pre-game concert that divided viewers.

The Panthers won 28-12 to extend the Eels premiership drought which dates back to 1986, but the scoreline did not fully reflect Penrith’s dominance as they wasted scoring chances and allowed two late Parramatta tries that did little but add a touch of respectability to the final margin.

Penrith controlled the grand final throughout to claim back-to-back premierships

In the second half, a protester breached security at Accor Stadium and ran onto the playing field, reaching the goalposts where he tore at the padding before being grabbed by security guards.

The bearded protestor, who message printed on his t-shirt – For Our Kids –  hinted at his motivation, did not enough damage to the padding that it needed to be re-attached to the posts.

A protestor tears away the padding from the goalposts after breaching security at Accor Stadium and running onto the field

A protestor tears away the padding from the goalposts after breaching security at Accor Stadium and running onto the field

 

 

The protester - who wore football boots to give him traction while running onto the grass surface - grins as he runs away from a pursuing security guard.

The protester – who wore football boots to give him traction while running onto the grass surface – grins as he runs away from a pursuing security guard.

 Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards was awarded the Clive Churchill medal as the player of the match, and celebrated with delighted teammates.

Stephen Crichton scored the opening try on 10 minutes, and when Brian To’o crossed just seven minutes later the Panthers were in complete control.

Scott Sorensen crossed after 27 minutes to threaten a rout, and Penrith went to the sheds up 18-0.

A second try to To’o early in the second half effectively ended the contest and Charlie Staines added another before late consolation tries to the Eels via Clint Gutherson and Jay Arthur. 

Dylan Edwards (centre) was named as the best player as Penrith made it back-to-back premiership wins.

Dylan Edwards (centre) was named as the best player as Penrith made it back-to-back premiership wins.

Commentators sung the praises of the Panthers after the exceptional display.

‘They have lost four games all year. And they have completely dominated in one of the great grand final performances,’ said caller Matt Thompson.

‘An emotional (coach) Ivan Cleary, who is normally poker-faced. Well, why wouldn’t he shed a tear on a night like this?

‘This club has achieved what very few have. (It’s) a very special group of footballers. A team filled with superstars; the backbone of which has all been developed in the Penrith area.’

Much of the crowd was made up of Parramatta fans eager to see the club end its long premiership drought, but their illusions were quickly shattered as Penrith piled on early points to go to half-time with an 18-0 lead.

Eels captain Gutherson said it was disappointing to perform so poorly in the grand final after so much hard work to get there.

‘Look, they were outstanding. We gave them way too much ball there in the first half and I think we made 110-120 more tackles than them in the first half. You can’t do that to a quality team,’ Gutherson said.

Eels captain Clint Gutherson lost more than just the game as the Panthers stormed to victory in the grand final

Eels captain Clint Gutherson lost more than just the game as the Panthers stormed to victory in the grand final

‘Look, we stayed in it until the end. It is disappointing. It is a hard feeling to explain. But that’s footy. Someone has to lose and unfortunately it was us.

‘It was a rollercoaster this year for us. It is everyone’s goal to get here. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the result we wanted.’

The stage was set for the grand final by a line-up of local entertainers, capped by Jimmy Barnes.

He ripped through his chart-toppers Working Class Man, No Second Prize, Lay Down Your Guns and Good Times. 

Jimmy Barnes (pictured) rocked the NRLW Grand Final match on Sunday with a searing medley of his biggest hits

Jimmy Barnes (pictured) rocked the NRLW Grand Final match on Sunday with a searing medley of his biggest hits

On the last track, which he originally performed with INXS, he was joined by his daughter Mahalia Barnes. 

Some watching at home were impressed – but others savaged the performance and shared their thoughts on social media. 

‘Not a huge fan of his voice or songs, but you gotta admit the man is an absolute vibe. I didn’t get it until I saw his performance at Gudinski’s memorial, now I do’ one fan wrote. 

The rocker, 66, impressed with a rollicking set before the game between the Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels at Accor Stadium

The rocker, 66, impressed with a rollicking set before the game between the Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels at Accor Stadium

He ripped through his chart-toppers Working Class Man, No Second Prize, Lay Down Your Guns and Good Times

He ripped through his chart-toppers Working Class Man, No Second Prize, Lay Down Your Guns and Good Times

On the last track, which he originally performed with INXS, he was joined by his daughter Mahalia Barnes

On the last track, which he originally performed with INXS, he was joined by his daughter Mahalia Barnes

‘Working class man by Jimmy Barnes tooooo goooood’ another viewer watching at home tweeted. 

‘Jimmy Barnes for the $5 note please’ one said while another added, ‘Gotta love Jimmy Barnes’. 

One fan tuning in to the show quipped: ‘Jimmy Barnes still got it’

Some watching at home were impressed - but others savaged the performance and shared their thoughts on social media

Some watching at home were impressed – but others savaged the performance and shared their thoughts on social media

'Not a huge fan of his voice or songs, but you gotta admit the man is an absolute vibe. I didn't get it until I saw his performance at Gudinski's memorial, now I do' one fan wrote

‘Not a huge fan of his voice or songs, but you gotta admit the man is an absolute vibe. I didn’t get it until I saw his performance at Gudinski’s memorial, now I do’ one fan wrote

'Working class man by Jimmy Barnes tooooo goooood' another viewer watching at home tweeted

‘Working class man by Jimmy Barnes tooooo goooood’ another viewer watching at home tweeted

‘Just when you thought the AFL finally beat the NRL entertainment Jimmy starts with Working Class Man and I’m done. Every bit as great’ a fan wrote.   

‘Sorry @afl but the @nrl pre game entertainment is 100% better!!’ another said. 

Others were less complimentary with one writing: ‘Jimmy Barnes is gonna give himself a stroke… not great either…’ 

‘Can we retire Jimmy Barnes please?’ someone else asked while another complained, ‘Jimmy Barnes shocking’. 

‘Get Jimmy Barnes off FFS’ yet another viewer said. 

Others were less complimentary with one writing: 'Jimmy Barnes is gonna give himself a stroke... not great either...'

Others were less complimentary with one writing: ‘Jimmy Barnes is gonna give himself a stroke… not great either…’

'Get Jimmy Barnes off FFS' yet another viewer said

‘Get Jimmy Barnes off FFS’ yet another viewer said

'Can we retire Jimmy Barnes please?' someone else asked while another complained, 'Jimmy Barnes shocking'

‘Can we retire Jimmy Barnes please?’ someone else asked while another complained, ‘Jimmy Barnes shocking’

‘I can tell you now, Jimmy Barnes sounds just as past his use by date now as he did the last 14 times he played the #nrlgrandfinal’ wrote a viewer. 

‘Jimmy Barnes is the reddest person I’ve ever seen let him go lay down’ someone else said. 

 ”AFL get Robbie Williams and all we have is Jimmy Barnes’ – my Dad’ tweeted another. 

A variety of thoughts were shared online by social media users

A variety of thoughts were shared online by social media users

Some viewers questioned the lack of diversity in the acts on the night.

‘Not one coloured person on stage’ said one person. 

‘White guys who rap / hip hop’ said another.  

A few called the entertainment ‘bogan’ with one writing: ‘Be still my bogan heart. Robbie who?’ Get it Barnesy’. 

Some viewers questioned the lack of diversity in the acts on the night. A few called the entertainment 'bogan' but seemed pleased about it

Some viewers questioned the lack of diversity in the acts on the night. A few called the entertainment ‘bogan’ but seemed pleased about it 

Earlier, Jimmy’s daughter Mahalia stormed the stage at the pre-match entertainment. 

The 40-year-old rocked the stage with a rendition of the Russell Morris classic The Real Thing. 

Accompanied by musicians A.Girl and Emma Donovan, Mahalia showcased her powerhouse vocals. 

Mahalia Barnes (pictured) stormed the stage at the pre-match entertainment

Mahalia Barnes (pictured) stormed the stage at the pre-match entertainment 

Viewers at home were impressed, with many posting their thoughts to social media. 

‘Mahalia Barnes, what a voice! I’m now really hoping for a Barnsey and Barnsey cover of Simply the Best,’ one person wrote. 

‘Her voice might have something to do with. She’s amazing. A chip of the old man’s block,’ another said. 

The 40-year-old rocked the stage with a rendition of the Russell Morris classic The Real Thing before the game between the Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels at Accor Stadium

The 40-year-old rocked the stage with a rendition of the Russell Morris classic The Real Thing before the game between the Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels at Accor Stadium 

Accompanied by musicians A.Girl and Emma Donovan, Mahalia, who is the daughter of rocker Jimmy Barnes, showcased her powerhouse vocals

Accompanied by musicians A.Girl and Emma Donovan, Mahalia, who is the daughter of rocker Jimmy Barnes, showcased her powerhouse vocals

‘Wooooooo @MahaliaBarnes killing it on #NRLGF day!’ one more person watching chimed in.   

‘Wow @MahaliaBarnes and Emma Donovan and band, what a great song! Mow ma mow mow ma ma mow mow!’ someone else said. 

Not everyone enjoyed the show however, with others expressing their dissent on social media.   

However there were also mixed reactions online

However there were also mixed reactions online 

‘No disrespect but there @NRL needs to put some serious cash into getting a massive artist for the #NRLGF. Most years the AFL leave them for dead every single time,’ one person tweeted. 

Another person joked that they had blocked their ears while listening to the ‘pre game entertainment for the #NRLGF’. 

‘Can someone get parachute pants off the stage please!!!’ another complained, while one more said, ‘Let’s butcher a classic’. 

Bliss n Eso (pictured) also took the stage and viewers were less than flattering about the hip hop duo's performance

Bliss n Eso (pictured) also took the stage and viewers were less than flattering about the hip hop duo’s performance

'Is Bliss n Eso still a thing. I thought they had antibiotics for that' someone tuning in joked

‘Is Bliss n Eso still a thing. I thought they had antibiotics for that’ someone tuning in joked

Bliss n Eso also took the stage and viewers were less than flattering about the hip hop duo’s performance. 

‘Bliss n Eso has made me really sick’ complained on person on Twitter. 

‘Who is Bliss n Esso?’ someone else asked. 

'Who is Bliss n Esso?' someone else asked

‘Who is Bliss n Esso?’ someone else asked

‘Is Bliss n Eso still a thing. I thought they had antibiotics for that’ someone else tuning in joked. 

‘How much would of the #NRL payed Bliss n Esso? Maybe $75’ another person watching at home said.

‘What happened to Bliss n Eso. #NRLPanthersEels they use to be good’ one more said. 

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