Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels match result, Mitchell Moses, HIA, head knock, concussion, injury, video

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The Eels’ quest to end their 36-year premiership drought is in a precarious state after they fell to a 27-8 defeat to the Panthers and lost gun halfback Mitchell Moses in the process on Friday night.

Parramatta’s qualifying final clash at Penrith Stadium took a horrible turn when Moses left the field for a head injury assessment in the 60th minute, having copped a Viliame Kikau knee to his head as he braced for a low tackle.

Moses failed his HIA and seemed to be in doubt for the Eels’ sudden-death clash next week, in which they’ll meet the winner of the Storm-Raiders elimination final.

AS IT HAPPENED: Penrith blitzes Parramatta in qualifying final

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However, Parramatta coach Brad Arthur suggested the Eels halfback was in good spirits after the match despite the sickening nature of the collision.

“He’s all right in the sheds,” Arthur said in his press conference.

“He said he remembers everything, he seems all right.

“His health is the main priority.

“But we’ve got a seven-day turnaround and he’s pretty important to us.”

The Panthers are also sweating on an injured star after Friday night’s match, having lost winger Taylan May to a hamstring injury in the 70th minute.

The speedster has a fortnight to recover after the Panthers’ win earned them the second weekend of the finals off, with the reigning premiers booking a spot in the preliminary finals.

However, May could miss the match regardless, after being reported and sin-binned for a high tackle on Will Penisini during the first half.

But the most significant talking point out of the game is Moses’ concussion.

Stream the NRL premiership 2022 live and free on 9Now

“He’s been whacked here, Mitchell Moses. He is not well,” said Nine caller Mat Thompson at the time of the incident.

“Kikau just changed direction and came back straight at Moses,” Billy Slater added.

“He was looking for a right-shoulder tackle and when Kikau changed his direction he didn’t change his tackle.”

Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary masterminded Penrith’s triumph in his return from a five-game suspension.

Playing his first match since his spear tackle on Parramatta five-eighth Dylan Brown, Cleary set up two tries and kicked superbly.

Panther sin-binned for high shot

His exceptional performance drew praise from legendary Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston.

“I just sat back and watched the masterclass of Nathan Cleary,” Thurston said.

“Five weeks out of the game and comes back and produces probably the performance of the year.”

Cameron Smith was also in awe.

“Has he been playing park footy somewhere?” the Storm icon said with a laugh.

“Somewhere out in the mountains here?

“It was just a fantastic performance.”

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