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Peter Sterling in excruciating handshake snub, Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels

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Peter Sterling may be a Parramatta Eels legend but he had to work hard to get the attention of a rugby league youngster at the NRL Grand Final on Sunday night.

The four-time premiership winner brought the Provan-Summons Trophy out onto the field at Sydney’s Accor Stadium along with Penrith Panthers great Greg Alexander.

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The former playmakers were flanked by two junior players who placed the trophy on a table.

But the two youngsters were more interested in waving to the capacity crowd than acknowledging the rugby league legends standing next to them.

Sterling went to shake the young player’s hand but was completely ignored.

In seriously awkward scenes, he then stopped the boy from waving to the crowd and pulled his hand down so he could shake it.

Alexander didn’t have it much better — he nearly had his head knocked off by his companion’s over-eager waving.

The Eels are playing in their first Grand Final since 2009 and aiming to win their first premiership since 1986 and break the longest premiership drought of any NRL club.

Sterling played in Parramatta’s last triumph 36 years ago and he told Channel 9 the atmosphere at Accor Stadium was one of the best he’d ever experienced.

“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.”

Once the game got underway, the Panthers took control early through tries to Stephen Crichton, Brian To’o and Scott Sorenson.


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