The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have put on a show for an adoring home crowd in their first game of the 2015 season, bringing home a massive 42-12 win over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.
Running out to an 18,718-strong crowd, with the Blue and Gold Army already revved up in anticipation of a clash with long-time rivals the Sea Eagles, the home side wasted no time in adding to the atmosphere.
Keeping their opponents inside their own end with some bruising defence, the Eels then capitalised on a loose ball as Anthony Watmough scoped up the footy. Moving swiftly upfield, five-eighth Corey Norman send the ball to the left edge for winger Semi Radradra to storm over in the corner and score.
The Sea Eagles were denied a four-pointer to Cheyse Blair for a forward pass from Kieran Foran, and in just the 13th minute centre Clinton Gutherson was taken from the field injured.
As Radradra cleaned up a Daly Cherry-Evans grubber kick in defence to chalk up a forty-metre run, the Eels rolled on to pop fullback Will Hopoate into space on the right edge to score his first try of the 2015 season.
It took 20 minutes for the Sea Eagles to answer back, as Brett Stewart snatched up a clean inside ball from Foran to slip past the Blue and Gold defensive line and over the try line.
And while both sides had missed opportunities in attack, courtesy of a lost short pass to the Parramatta and the pinpoint kicking from the Sea Eagles being unable to pierce the Eels’ line, at last Daly Cherry-Evans offloaded to Cheyse Blair to add another four points.
A big hit from Junior Paulo attracted some push and shove on field, as well as a penalty, with the prop placed on report in the 29th minute. But Parramatta continued their attacking raids as Radradra took the quick flick ball from Corey Norman for his second try of the day, chalking up a 16-12 halftime lead.
The second half was full of feeling from the kick off, as Anthony Watmough encountered a raised knee from forward James Hasson that saw Hasson on report and Watmough leave the field.
With Watmough and Tepai Moeroa both receiving attention during the second half, the onslaught of points didn’t stop for the Blue and Gold.
Robinson collected two points from a penalty goal following Hasson and Watmough’s clash, and followed it up with a quick grubber kick in attack for halfback Chris Sandow to pounce on for a try.
Radradra added a third try mid-way through the second stanza, while Sandow put on his own show of individual brilliance, bamboozling defenders to send the ball through Norman’s hands for Brad Takairangi to ground it in the corner and score a try in his debut appearance for the Blue and Gold.
The barrelling halfback continued to spark off Reece Robinson, as the winger passed from the ground through the hands of Lussick for Sandow's second try of the night.
Tensions threatened to spill over late in the game when second-rower Manu Ma'u monstered Brenton Lawrence in a tackle, the Blue and Gold kept their opposition scoreless in the second half to open their season with a 42-12 victory.
Dyldam Parramatta Eels - 42 (Hopoate, Radradra 3, Sandow 2, Takairangi. Robinson 6/7. Penalty goals: 1/1)
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles - 12 (Stewart, Blair. Lyon: 2/2)