Eels fall in golden point
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have been defeated 17-13 in a thrilling golden point contest against the New Zealand Warriors at Pirtek Stadium.
It was a dusty start to the game, with errors from both teams, making it difficult for either side to build some pressure.
The Warriors were the first team with an attacking opportunity but the Blue and Gold held the visitors out with some great goal line defence.
It took 20 minutes for the first points of the game to be scored when the visitors ran the ball on the last tackle and Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson passed to his winger Jonathan Wright who kicked back in field for Johnson to regarther as he side-stepped the defence and found the line.
The Eels had some opportunities to hit back, but a lack of possession and low completions made it extremely difficult to build pressure.
The visitors were in again in the 30th minute when Solomone Kata brushed off the defenders to score in the corner. Johnson converted and the visitors took their lead out to two converted tries.
An error from the Warriors gave the Eels an opportunity to get on the board before the break with an attacking set from 20 metres out, but the defence proved to be too strong and they entered the half time sheds, trailing 0-12.
The Eels came out firing in the second half when Luke Kelly put up a cross-field bomb which was lost and grounded in goal by Anthony Watmough, for his first try for the Blue and Gold. Luke Kelly’s conversion was unsuccessful as the Eels trailed 12-4.
Momentum was on the home team’s side, and after receiving back to back penalties, the Eels found themselves back in good attacking position. Corey Norman set up Brad Takairangi who passed to his winger Semi Radradra who powered to the line for Parramatta’s second try. Another missed conversion from Kelly and the score stayed 12-8 after 48 minutes.
The Warriors looked to find some good space as they spread the ball across the field, but a knock on gave the Eels another opportunity to build some pressure of their own.
An error from the Warriors gave the Eels some more attacking position and when Radradra found the line he looked almost certain to have scored a try, however the video referee ruled a no try as his foot was out of touch.
The Eels levelled the score in the 63rd minute when the ball went from Nathan Peats to Manu Ma’u to Will Hopoate who then offloaded to Ryan Morgan who scored in the corner for the home side. With three unsuccessful conversions from Luke Kelly, the scored remained locked at 12-12, as both teams had to consider a field goal.
In the 68th minute, Tim Mannah came up with an outstanding tackle on Johnson as he struggled to get a kick away.
On the other side of the field, Mannah was stripped of the ball which gave the opposition great field position to get the one point off a field goal. Chad Townsend made the most of it as he kicked his side in front 13-12 with five minutes of the game remaining.
The Eels were far from finished, and after having a repeat set, a cool Luke Kelly levelled the score with his own field goal with a minute to go to send the game into golden point.
The first two sets of golden point from each side was composed and both sides were looking to gain field position.
With less than two minutes left of the first half of golden point, Shaun Johnson kicked a field goal but it was touched by Danny Wicks, which resulted in a goal line drop out.
The Warriors had less than a minute to seal the victory and did so when Bodene Thompson crashed over the line. The on field referee sent it up to the video referee but awarded it a try, as the Blue and Gold fans watched with a slight glimmer of hope that there would be enough evidence to over turn the call.
The video referee awarded the try and the Warriors escaped an Eels comeback to take the two points back home to New Zealand.
Warriors: Johnson, Kata. Thompson Johnson 2/2. Field goal Johnson.
Eels: Watmough. Radradra. Morgan. Kelly 0/3. Field goal Kelly.