The Dyldam Parramatta Eels Under 20s side has continued its impressive start to the season with a 38-34 win over the Cronulla-Sharls on Monday night.
The Blue and Gold made several changes to the team that disposed of the Cowboys 64-4 last week: with Ryan Matterson, John Folau and Fabian Goodall running out for the Wentworthville Magpies over the weekend, the trio of Mark Dao ud, Alec Bush and Leva Li moved into the squad.
The Cronulla Sharks started the match in emphatic style, scoring 18 unanswered points in the opening 10 minutes of play.
It was Jamayne Isaako who crossed early for Cronulla in their first attacking set of the match – quick hands across the field creating a gap for Isaako to capitalise on.
Still within the opening five minutes, fullback Valentine Holmes made a break in the Eels defensive line to run 35 metres and set himself up for an easy conversion, scoring under the posts.
Holmes struck again five minutes later, turning on some fancy footwork and a quick burst of speed to cross under the posts for the second time. And with Holmes' skill with the boot, the Sharks were up by three converted tries early in the half.
The Eels were able to bring themselves back into the match, using the boost of two consecutive penalties send Josh Aloiai barging over for their first try of the night.
Parramatta struck again through Fred Junior Mauala under the posts, setting up an easy conversion for Davis to bring it back to a six point margin, trailing 18-12.
With momentum gathering for the Eels, Halauafu Lavaka scored the first of his hat-trick on the right sideline after a line-break of the Sharks defence. Davis missed the conversion attempt from the touchline to trail 18-16.
Lavaka crossed for his second of the match in the same spot on the right sideline to finish off the half with plenty of momentum and the Eels headed into the break leading 22-18.
Parramatta continued where they left off in the second-half, with five-eighth Mark Daoud crossing on the left-hand side, ten in from touch, in his first NYC appearancefor 2014. The conversion attempt successful from Davis, the Eels led 28-18.
With Lavaka unmarked on the wing, a precise kick from halfback Zach Dockar-Clay was all that was needed for the winger to claim his third of the match. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but the Eels kept their noses in front 32-18.
It seemed that Cronulla’s game was all but over, but the young Sharks side found momentum to score three unanswered tries and bring the match back into contention. The first came courtesy of Jaden Clarke, and the second from Josh Addo-Carr, running 90 metres against the run of play to ground the ball with just ten minutes remaining in the game.
An attacking set on the Eels line gave way for Cronulla's Jake Lawrence to tie the match at 32-all, with the conversion by Valentine Holmes giving the Sharks a two point lead with five minutes on the clock.
In the dying moments of the match, Mark Daoud’s cross-field kick was pounced on by halves partner Zach Dockar Clay, and with Davis' conversion, the Eels snatched the competition points with a 38-34 victory.
The win takes Parramatta back up to second place on the Holden Cup ladder after 9 rounds of competition. The Eels will host the equal-placed Dragons on Saturday, while the Sharks will be looking to bounce back and break their four game losing streak against the Tigers.
Dyldam Parramatta Eels - 38 (Lavaka 3, Daoud, Aloiai, Dockar-Clay, Mauala. Davis: 5/7 goals)
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks - 34 (Holmes 2, Lawrence, Clarke, Isaako, Addo-Carr. Holmes: 4/6 goals)