Pirtek Parramatta Eels entered the ANZ Stadium to take on the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs this Saturday evening at 7.30pm.


From the outset the Bulldogs intercepted a Luke Kelly kick off and drove down to the Eels line. Sam Perrett took advantage of a high kick from Trent Hodkinson to score within the third minute. Bouncing off the post, Hodkinsons conversion missed but a Jake Mullaney kick on the full sent the ball back into the Eels twenty-metre line and Josh Reynolds put another one over the line within another 3 minutes.


The second kick from Hodkinson was a successful conversion and before the tenth minute, Bulldogs fullback Ben Barba smashed through to score again. This did, however, come at a cost to the Bulldogs as Barba limped off the field with a sprained ankle.


A great chip kick from Luke Kelly sent Ken Sio racing down the field, but he was stopped just short of the Bulldogs line by some aggressive defence. Another great run from Sio was intercepted as he was dragged over the wing just twenty metres out from the Canterbury line.


A forward pass from the Bulldogs put the ball back in possession for Parramatta but a quick change of hands set the ball up for Hodkinson to ground and follow up with a conversion, giving the Bulldogs a lead of 22 to Eels 0.


The Eels lost several attempted chip kicks over the line as Parramatta tried to gain momentum. Pushing past the half time siren, a final chip kick over the line by Ryan Morgan was again unsuccessful and the scoreboard was left at 22-0.


A Bulldogs kick-off opened the second half and was met with stronger defence after the break. The Eels returned to the field without Darcy Lussick who stayed off for the remainder of the game with a hip-pointer cork from the first half.


Again, moving quickly in the second half, Bulldogs prop James Graham put the ball down close to the posts, making an easy goal for Hodkinson.


Defence came back to the field with strength but Willie Tonga was put on report for a dangerous tackle and within moments Canterbury took advantage of the scrum feed with a try from Dale Finucane.


Parramatta fans were on edge as Semi Radradra dashed down the field onto be tackled down the sideline. The fifth tackle kick gave possession back to Canterbury and a strong play down the field saw Michael Ennis ground another try.


Tension mounted for the Blue and Gold Army as they watched their beloved Eels get close to the try line. Tim Mannah was tackled just inches from the Bulldogs line and flipped the ball out. A penalty handed the Eels another set of 6, which Radradra pushed even closer, pulled down by a five-man tackle. Radradra was too fast for a swift pass from Maitua and Canterbury again took back possession with a scrum feed.


It was in the final ten minutes that Radradra intercepted a chip-kick at the thirty metre line and passed to Maitua who offloaded it to Ben Roberts. Breaking through the seemingly impenetrable Bulldogs defence, Roberts put the first try on the board for the Parramatta Eels, as well as his first try for the season. A solid kick from Mullaney gave the Eels a neat six.


Putting points on the board was just what the Eels needed to stop the Doggies steam-train pace. A chip-kick from Roberts in the final moments set the ball up for Radradra to put down at the final siren. Mullaney ended the game with 12 points for the Eels against the Bulldogs 40, leaving the Blue and Gold Army with a consolatory yet hopeful defeat.


Bulldogs 40 (Tries: Perrett, Reynolds, Barba, Morris, Graham, Finucane, Ennis. Goals: Hopkinson 6)

def

Eels 12 (Tries: Roberts, Radradra. Goals: Mullaney 2)