Excitement is brewing at the foot of the mountains as a near full house watched Penrith announce their plans for NRL premiership redemption on Saturday night.
Playmakers Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai and Api Koroisau put on a show with no signs of usual trial sluggishness before they were rested midway through the second half of their 16-6 win against Parramatta.
It's been just four months since their 17-game winning streak was brought to a devastating end by Melbourne in the decider but Panthers fans packed out the stadium to set up 2021 on a high note.
A slick show from the stars bodes well for a fast start to the season for the Panthers, who will kick off their premiership campaign against North Queensland at home on March 13.
For the Eels, Tom Opacic put in a solid audition for the left centre position made vacant by Michael Jennings and was the lone try-scorer.
In the final round of trials before round one, the most anticipated lower grade trial match in history saw teen star Joseph Suaalii score a brace for Sydney Roosters' feeder club North Sydney.
The 17-year-old showed off the right-foot step that made the Roosters hierarchy go to battle for his signature this season as he scored a try in each half of the Bears' 26-18 win over Canberra.
South Sydney's loss looks to be a huge gain for their closest rivals.
The hulking teenager towered over his teammates as he lined up at right centre, but showed signs of struggle in his first rugby league game in 18 months.
There was a scare late in the game when he was helped from the field with a leg injury, which was later revealed to be a cramp.
For both tries, Suaalii used his brute strength and size to score, but was lucky with his first when he didn't pass to an unmarked winger on the edge.
Later, halves Sam Walker and Lachlan Lam were in good touch to lead the Roosters to a 26-20 win over Canberra in the NRL trials in Queanbeyan.
Lam is expected to get the nod for round one with halfback Luke Keary to line up after nursing a hamstring injury which kept him out of Saturday's trial.
Meanwhile, Melbourne are sweating on scans for hooker Harry Grant who is in doubt for round one with a knee injury he picked up in the Storm's 30-10 win against Newcastle in Albury.
Grant is expected to fill the No.9 jersey left vacant by Cameron Smith this season but Brandon Smith will get the call up against South Sydney in a fortnight should he be ruled out.
Elsewhere, David Fifita and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui were impressive in their club debut for Gold Coast in a 12-all draw with the Warriors in Lismore, while Trent Barrett scored his first win as Canterbury coach with a 16-12 victory over Cronulla.
Australian Associated Press