Composure isn't a word associated with Chris Sandow but the Parramatta No. 7 showed plenty in his side's 10-10 draw in a fiery clash against Penrith on Saturday afternoon.
After a substandard hit-out against the Tigers last weekend, Sandow played a hand in both of Parramatta's tries on a bleak and miserable afternoon at the foot of the mountains.
There were none of the flashes of brilliance that have become synonymous with the maligned playmaker but he kicked and directed his troops like a man on a mission in his 60-minute stint.
"His kicking game was a stand-out," said Eels co-captain Jarryd Hayne. "That's the thing that really dominated the game today – his kicking. I think Sticky's been really adamant about him getting his kicking game right and that showed tonight." Parramatta surpassed their points tally from last week against the Tigers within eight minutes on Saturday night. Hayne and Sandow combined to register the first points of the match.
Hayne leaped above the Panthers' defence to latch on to a cross-field kick from Sandow, who converted the try from beside the posts to give Parramatta a 6-0 lead.
At the other end of the field, Wes Naiqama squandered two chances for the Panthers before taking an intercept off a Joseph Paulo pass to run 40 metres untouched and level the score in the 21st minute.
Sandow then orchestrated the Eels' second four-pointer with a cut-out pass to Ryan Morgan, before looping around the centre to put Blair into the corner untouched.
A late try to David Simmons levelled the match but the Eels took plenty of confidence out of conceding only two tries in 80 minutes after leaking 41 points against the Tigers seven days earlier.
"During the week we worked a lot on our defensive efforts," Hayne said.
"To keep them to two tries was good. It's our attack now. It wasn't there tonight but with the wet weather and it being a trial, we spoke about trying to grind this one out. Penrith had the same mindset as well."
Even though it was just a trial, tempers flared between the two western Sydney rivals before half-time and it spilled over into the second half.
On the stroke of half time, Eels back-rower Matt Ryan and Panthers hooker James Segeyaro engaged in a minor push-and-shove before their teammates ran in to split it up.
Ill-discipline from Ryan in the second half cost him 10 minutes in the sin bin, given his marching orders for repeat infringements around the ruck.
If Stuart wasn't already frustrated with his back-rower, he would've been when he was again penalised for holding down in a tackle just minutes after returning to the paddock.
It was the start of a fiery few minutes in what was a rather lifeless contest at the foot of the mountains.
The usually unflappable Tim Mannah, who was named Eels club captain on Friday, came to blows with NSW Origin prop Tim Grant.
Mannah threw a punch at his opposite number, who took exception to the mistimed jab, igniting another push-and-shove between the two sides.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said the wet conditions made it difficult to take any positives out of his side's attack.
"It was a pretty slow old game and obviously the weather didn't help things," Cleary said.
"The play the ball was very slow tonight. The referees were getting a bit frustrated in the second half. We struggled to get any kind of fluency or momentum in attack and they probably felt the same."