The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have gone down to the St. George-Illawarra Dragons in a thriller (10-12) at Eden Park to kick off the Day Two proceedings at Eden Park for the 2015 Auckland Nines.
The Eels were welcomed to Eden Park with wet and windy conditions for their clash and both teams struggled to adjust to the conditions early.
The Dragons were the first team to put points on the board, however Eels captain Chris Sandow stepped up and took control of the game to end the first half. Some strong defence from the half back, followed by a long cut out pass put Semi Radradra over for the first Eels points of the game, and the successful conversion saw the Eels head into the half time break with a 6-4 lead.
The Eels carried on with the momentum to kick off the second half as offloads from David Gower and Tepai Moeroa saw Sandow juggling the ball as he poked his head through the line. As he regathered control, he found a flying Reece Robinson to score down the right wing and extend the Eels lead to 10-4.
As the Eels looked to hold on to their lead, the Blue and Gold showed great desperation and goal line defence to hold off the Dragons attack as full time neared. The Dragons were frantic and as the ball was passed around, they managed to find space down the Eels left edge and Benji Marshall crossed to put the Dragons in front, 12-10.
The Eels finished the pool stage at the top after two wins and one loss and will play the defending champions, the North Queensland Cowboys at 2:30pm NZDT (12:30pm AEDT).