The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have suffered a 21-18 loss to the Wests Tigers in the Eels #forthefarmers Round 7 home game at ANZ Stadium.
A record 50,668 people watched the match, tied up until the 78th minute, before the Tigers successfully slotted a field goal and a penalty goal to secure a three point victory.
Parramatta co-captain, Jarryd Hayne, scored the first points of the match after capitalising on a short ball from Chris Sandow and despite having support on the outside, he ran it himself to score in the right corner – with the conversion unsuccessful from Chris Sandow.
Both sides had their chances early on, with Hayne shutting down Pat Richards after the winger found space on the left, and Chris Sandow’s line-break defused when his offload to Willie Tonga ended up in Wests Tigers hands.
The Eels suffered an early blow when Mitch Allgood was taken off the field for concussion testing and was unable to retake the field following the NRL’s new ruling, leaving the Eels with 16 men.
Reminiscent of his first try, Jarryd Hayne scored in the same spot on the right-hand touch line, though it was a solo run and dummy that let him break the Tiger’s defensive line and beat fullback Kurtis Rowe to the corner – Sandow missed the conversion and the Eels were leading 8-0.
The Tigers were pressing though, and Sitaleki Akauola made a powerful run at the Eels line but came up short.
After a late inclusion from the extended bench, Blake Austin replaced Liam Fulton and took advantage of his opportunity. The young playmaker took a run from dummy half to catch the Eels defence off guard, bringing the score back to 8-6 following a successful conversion from Pat Richards just two minutes before half time.
Following the intermission, Luke Brooks scooped up a loose Parramatta ball within the Tiger’s defensive quarter to run 80 metres and score under the posts, despite a solid chase by Fuifui Moimoi. Richards converted to give Wests a 12-8 lead.
Parramatta were able to strike back quickly though off the back of a Chris Sandow line-break. Hayne capitalised on a quick play-the-ball, and with the Tigers' defensive line struggling to make it back, he chipped a kick over to Ken Sio who was able to cross the line and tie it up at 12-12. Sandow converted and the Eels regained the lead, 14-12.
In the 63rd minute, the Eels were gaining momentum and were looking to score following Sandow’s 40/20. Parramatta had 3-on-1 to the right-hand side, but Sandow’s pass was intercepted by Pat Richards who ran 90 metres to score and convert comfortably.
The final ten minutes of the match intensified when Will Hopoate crossed the line, with the try denied on the basis of obstruction, leaving the Eels to trail by 2.
In the 75th minute, a break on the right-hand side of the field by Ken Sio led to a try from to opposite winger, Semi Radradra. The Tiger’s defence was struggling to get back and a switch of play allowed Radradra to score and tie the match at 18-18, with Sandow narrowly missing the conversion attempt.
With two minutes to play, Parramatta had a loose carry coming out of their defensive half to set up the Wests field-goal attempt, slotted by Luke Brooks.
The Eels restart failed to go 10 metres and the Tigers pointed to the posts for a 50 metre conversion attempt, successful by Richards to seal the match at 21-18
“At the end of the day we needed to be better to win the game, we scored four tries, they scored two tries off our errors,” Head Coach Brad Arthur told the media after fulltime.
“We had enough opportunities to win that game, so at the end of the day, it would have been nice to kick another goal but we had enough opportunities to win that game and we didn’t do it.”
Parramatta will be looking to bounce back against the Cowboys when they travel to North Queensland on Saturday night.