Peter Sterling endured a horrible night at Accor Stadium on Sunday as his beloved Parramatta Eels were blown off the park by the Panthers in the NRL grand final.
A Parramatta champion, Sterling watched on as the Panthers surged to a 28-0 lead in the decider before two late Eels tries made the final score 28-12.
'DO BETTER': NRL under fire over 'embarrassing' post-match scenes
If the brutal performance wasn't bad enough, Sterling was also involved in an embarrassing moment before the game.
The former Channel 9 commentator was bestowed the honour of carrying the Provan-Summons premiership trophy onto Accor Stadium alongside Panthers legend Greg Alexander.
Both legends were flanked by a junior rugby league player, making for some nice scenes before the Eels and Panthers ran out onto the field.
However Sterling was the victim of a brutal moment when his attempt to shake his junior player's hand went wrong.
Sterling offered his hand to the youngster after he'd place the trophy on a table, but the boy didn't see and started waving to the crowd.
Sterling then awkwardly grabbed the boy's arm and stopped him from waving so he could shake his hand.
This whole event was woeful!
— Lauren K (@lolly375) October 2, 2022
ugh that was hard to watch, we go from cringe (barnes) to sterlos handshake, to billy almost forgetting his lines, what's next lol
— A (@A63289516) October 2, 2022
Good effort considering he had to interrupt Awkward Waving. Good to see the bloke on the rights waving his guts out.
— Jeremy (@Jeremy14546936) October 2, 2022
Despite the gaffe, fans were delighted to see Sterling back on their TV screens following his retirement from the commentary box last year.
He also took part in Channel 9's pre-game coverage and described what the atmosphere was like.
“I tell you what, this is one of the great nights, I can’t take this all in,” he said.
“I’ve been at Wembley in front of 100,000 people. This is as good as I’ve ever experienced at a ground.”
Unfortunately for Sterling, who played in Parramatta's last grand final triumph in 1986, the Eels' premiership drought will stretch into a 37th season.
Sterlo seems overcome with emotion here how good is it to here his voice again though.#NRLGF
— Chris (@ChrisAndo5) October 2, 2022
— ReadingThePlay (@ReadingThePlay) October 2, 2022
Parramatta plans backfire in grand final thrashing
Parramatta recalled Nathan Brown from the wilderness for the grand final after he hadn't played at NRL level since round 17.
The plan was for Brown to add some "mongrel" to the Eels pack and ruffle the feathers of Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary.
But by the time coach Brad Arthur put the former NSW Origin lock into action in the 30th minute, the Eels were three tries down.
Parramatta's forwards had spoken of needing to win the fight with the Panthers in the middle to have any chance of beating them.
But by half-time their starting pack had made just 146 metres, while Penrith winger Brian To'o had made 142m on his own.
"They (Penrith) played too well in the first half and too fast for us," Arthur said.
"I said to the boys right now is not the time to review or dissect, we just got beaten by a better team."
The Eels had twice defeated the Panthers in the regular season, but found themselves completely outgunned on the big stage by their experienced rivals.
"You'd like to think this feeling gives a lot of motivation. None of us have felt this," captain Clint Gutherson told reporters.
"It makes you want to get back here.
"A few of the Penrith boys said that that was a lot of motivation for them when they lost a couple of years ago."
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