Five from Round 16
The Eels put on a gutsy display on Saturday night against the Dragons to come away 16-12 winners at Pirtek Stadium, claiming their first back to back wins of the season.
Here are a few things that caught our eye in Round 16…
1. Eels desperation in defence closes out game
The Blue and Gold showed desperation in Round 14 to claim a victory over the Storm at AAMI Park, and they backed it up with another solid defence effort to claim the two points against the Dragons.
The Eels had their backs against the wall in the final 5 minutes with the Dragons throwing plenty at the Blue and Gold defensive line, but they hold strong to come away with the victory.
Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur praised his side’s defensive effort.
“We won the game on our defence tonight.” Arthur said in the post match press conference.
“The boys got together during the week and had a chat on their own and I think it showed tonight. It was a very tough committed win.”
“The defence, the commitment, the resolve.”
2. Blue and Gold Army
The Blue and Gold Army were out in force on Saturday night with the 15,046 in attendance cheering on the Eels to victory whilst also being vocal in getting under Dragons halfback Benji Marshall skin.
Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur praised his players and the fans after the game.
“The boys did it tonight for themselves and for our fans,” Arthur said.
“A big thank you to our fans, they were outstanding tonight. Our boys wanted to put on a show for them and I think we’ve done that.”
Eels captain Tim Mannah agreed, “We’ve had some pretty tough times at the club over the years but - and I’m biased - but our fans have got to be one of the best in the competition.” Mannah said.
“The way they support us is something we don’t take for granted, and we’re very lucky and blessed to have them.”
3. Semi celebrates a triple
Eels winger Semi Radradra continued his try scoring spree with a triple on Saturday night.
Radradra crossed for three four pointers, his fourth consecutive game where has crossed for two tries or more, to bring his tally to 14 tries this season and currently sits second on the 2015 NRL Try Scoring list.
4. Eels debutant Cody Nelson
With the Eels facing injuries to hookers Nathan Peats, Isaac De Gois and Kaysa Pritchard, second rower Cody Nelson was called up from the NSW Cup side to fill the number 9 jersey.
Brad Arthur praised Nelson’s effort after the game.
“I was only planning to play him (Cody Nelson) for 25 minutes, but he just did his job. He got to dummy-half, he gave good service, he listened to the calls.”
“And more importantly, he was everywhere in defence.”
Nelson topped the tackle count, making 54 tackles from his 80 minutes, including one line break and two offloads during his Eels debut.
5. Pauli Pauli try saving tackle
With the Eels holding onto a 16-12 lead, the Blue and Gold defence endured wave after wave of Dragons attacking raids, but it was the try saving tackle from Pauli Pauli with 5 minutes to go that exemplified the effort that the Eels put in to their goal-line defence tonight.
The forward stopped a barnstorming run from Dragons winger Peter Mata’utia, with the assistance of Ryan Morgan and Junior Paulo, who stopped a certain try just a metre from the line.