Eels Back in Winners' Circle

The Pirtek Parramatta Eels came away victorious from their last match at Parramatta Stadium and dominated the Wests Tigers 26 to 22.


The Eels were welcomed onto the field with some pyrotechnics to match the sound of 12,013 cheers. A late change saw the field missing Willie Tonga and Semi Radradra but the return of crowd favourite, Jarryd Hayne, had the Blue and Gold Army out en masse.


Hayne was in top form back in the number one jersey, carrying plays dangerously close to the Tigers line within the first five minutes. The Tigers were noticeably nervous without Robbie Farrah, who was absent with a broken finger.


David Nofoaluma scored the first try for the tigers and a high kick from Benji Marshall gave the Tigers fans something to cheer about early on.


It was a complicated play across the field that gave Sio a narrow gap to land the ball in the 15th minute. Kicker, Jake Mullaney, didnt make the conversion but made up for it with a try to the Michael Cronin side of the field only 3 minutes later.


Still ahead 8-6 with another missed conversion, the wet track was no help as Peni Terepo took a slide and lost possession to the Tigers. Two break-away runs from Ben Roberts and Jake Mullaney fell short and the ball came back to the Parramatta line where Marika Koroibete got one over the line. Marshalls kick was too wide, leaving the score board at 10-8.


Mullaney single-handed tackle stopped another try from Koroibete and gave Hayne a chance to push through the Wests barrier and pass across the field to young centre Vai Toutai, who grounded the ball on a tail spin. Mullaney made the conversion and the Eels went to half time with 14-10 over the Tigers.


It took nearly fifteen minutes into the second half for the ball to be grounded over the Parramatta line by Koroibete once again and Marshall pushed the points ahead over the Eels with a good kick.


It was a penalty for a high tackle against Hayne that gave the Eels the second wind they needed. As the Tigers kept pushing them back, it was a mid-air collision from Koroibete that gave the boys another six. Junior Paulo stole away and grounded the ball amidst a four-man tackle. He followed with a good kick to bring the points up to 20 against the Tigers 16.


Tim Simona put down another try for the Tigers with only 8 minutes left of play. The tension in the stadium was palpable as the two teams battled for the final set of points to give them a long awaited win.


A strong break away from Ben Roberts gave the Eels the chance they needed to get the ball over the line with another try from Toutai. Joseph Paulo made the final conversion and the crowd counted down the seconds, cheering as the Eels took away their first win in ten weeks.


Eels 26 (Mullaney 2, Toutai 2, Sio tries; Mullaney 1, Paulo 2 goals)

def.

Tigers 22 (Nofoaluma, Koroibete 2, Simona tries; Marshall 3 goals)