Eels Through To Semi Finals
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have defeated the Auckland Nines' reigning champions, the North Queensland Cowboys, to progress through to the semi-finals.
The Eels, who were coming off a loss against the Dragons, were down early against the Cowboys.
After mounting plenty of early pressure, the Blue and Gold were unable to capitalise on the amount of possession as the Cowboys held out numerous waves of attack.
The Cowboys withstood the pressure and on their first visit into the Eels half they were able to come away with a converted bonus-zone try to take an early 7-0 lead.
Then comes Chris Sandow.
The halfback took control of the match and the halfback sparked the Eels.
A chip over the top of the Cowboys defence sat up for halves partner Corey Norman to swoop on the ball and score under the posts to level the score as the game entered half time.
The Eels began the second half with gusto and plenty of enthusiasm as David Gower, Peni Terepo, Manu Ma’u and Junior Paulo charged into the Cowboys defence without regard for their personal health.
The forwards laid a strong platform as the Eels marched up the field and a perfectly weighted kick from Norman saw Bureta Faraimo plant the ball to provide the Eels their first lead of the match.
The Cowboys replied with a quick try to level the game in the final few minutes, however Norman continued to impose his dominance when the Eels had ball in hand.
A left foot step close to the line saw the five-eighth stretch out and score to give the Eels a 17-11 lead with under a minute to go.
As the final siren rang, the Cowboys put a long kick through in the dying seconds and Luke Kelly was the first player to the ball, securing the win for the Eels.
“You don’t think, you just go; and the players were pretty close to gaining on me so I just ran and hoped they wouldn’t catch me,” Kelly said.
The Eels will now play the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the Semi Finals at 5:25pm NZDT (3:25pm AEDT).