The Dyldam Parramatta Eels Holden Cup side have lost a heart-breaker 18-16 to the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.
The Eels clawed their way back from an 8-0 deficit to be in front 16-8, but a try to the Sea Eagles in the final two minutes game the home side the win.
The first half began slowly, with the teams trading sets for the opening ten minutes.
Neither side looked particularly potent in attack, with dropped balls and turnovers from both teams affecting their scoring.
Sea Eagles centre Jesse Ramien broke the deadlock in the 14th minute, with Manly swinging the ball out to the right, with the try scored in the corner.
The conversion attempt from Hugh Pratt was waved away.
The Eels came close to scoring on their right edge after some quick passing found winger Abbas Miski, but desperate Sea Eagles defence held him up right on the tryline.
After battling for field position, the Sea Eagles crashed through for their second try through Ramien, with the big centre taking three Eels defenders over the line with him in the 35th minute.
Pratt was again unsuccessful with the sideline conversion attempt, leaving the score 8-0 at halftime.
Eels debutant Jack Miller copped a knee injury near the start of the second half, needing assistance to be taken from the field.
But the Blue and Gold came out of the sheds a different-looking side, with Zach Dockar-Clay finding Bevan French from a grubber kick sitting up perfectly, with the fullback scoring under the posts.
Dockar-Clay easily converted from right in front.
Halfback Michael Doolan put the Eels back in front in the 60th minute, stepping off his right leg to score near the posts, with Dockar-Clay unable to slot the conversion.
An impressive individual effort from Tyrell Fuimaono saw him beat four defenders to score out on the right edge.
A successful conversion put the Eels in front 16-6 with 15 minutes remaining.
The Sea Eagles weren’t finished though, with centre Andrew Demetriou picking up a slick dummy-half pass from Pratt and scooting over to score near the posts.
Some desperate Manly defence saved saw what looked to be a certain Eels try, with the ball being continually kicked along the ground for almost the length of the field, with Ramien miraculously getting a hand to it before Atini Gafa could.
With just three minutes to go, the Sea Eagles struck the deadly blow, taking down a high bomb and scoring to the left of the posts, nudging them back in front.
Pratt missed the conversion but it didn’t matter, with the Eels going down 18-16.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 18 (Ramien 2, Demetriou 2 tries, Pratt 1 conversion)
Parramatta Eels 16 (French, Doolan, Fuimaono tries, Dockar-Clay 2 goals)