NRL Finals 2022: Pitch invader plants kiss on Reed Mahoney, Cowboys vs Eels score

Were the security staff napping?

A couple of Eels supporters sprinted onto Queensland Country Bank Stadium after Parramatta’s thrilling preliminary final victory over the North Queensland Cowboys on Friday evening, planting a kiss on Reed Mahoney’s forehead.

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After the final siren sounded in Townsville, two ecstatic pitch invaders stormed onto the field and embraced Eels forward Isaiah Papali‘i before rushing over towards Mahoney.

Eventually, a member of the security staff rushed in and escorted the jubilant gentlemen from the venue.

“Little slow to react in Townsville, the security,” former New South Wales representative Michael Ennis laughed on Fox League.

The Eels pulled off a huge 24-20 upset to book their place in the NRL Grand Final, where they will face either the South Sydney Rabbitohs or Penrith Panthers.

The Cowboys had not lost their seven previous finals in Townsville, but the Eels broke that record in a gutsy performance on Friday night.

“I want us to walk out with our heads up, I know they are disappointed, they really are, but we put some respect back into the jersey and the club,” Cowboys coach Todd Payten told reporters at the post-match press conference.

“We have got a good foundation, if we don’t fall in love with ourselves and continue to work hard and get better, we will be back here again.

“It is hard to get here, we know that, and that is what makes the opportunity missed so disappointing, but we have got an abundance of talent.

“They are great kids, they work hard, we just need to keep pushing along … I have been proud of our lads for a long time, their attitude and their want to get better.”

Originally published as Townsville pitch invader plants kiss on Parramatta Eels star Reed Mahoney