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Photo: Robb Cox (c) NRL Photos

The Dyldam Parramatta Eels Holden Cup side have opened their 2016 season with a 32-18 win over the Brisbane Broncos in their Round One clash Pirtek Stadium.

The Eels were the first on the scoreboard through Jermaine Mati-Leifi who scored in the corner after receiving a cut out pass from halfback Troy Dargan. The conversion was unsuccessful, and the Eels led 4-0 after 10 minutes.

The Dargan-Mati-Leifi combination was at it again in the 11th minute, as Dargan put up a bomb that sent Mati-Leifi over for his second of the game. Michael Doolan added the two, taking Parramatta’s lead out to 10-0.

Parramatta’s strong defensive efforts kept forcing errors from the Broncos, as they were unable to build pressure in attack.

Mati-Leifi crossed for a hat trick in the 17th minute after receiving a cross-field kick from none other than Dargan, extending the home side’s lead 14-0.

Back to back penalties saw the Broncos look close to crossing but strong defence from the Eels forced another error from the visitors.

The Broncos were able to find the line in the 23rd minute through David Fauid who crossed in the corner for Brisbane’s first points of the game. Haydyn O’Hara added the two taking the score out to 14-6.

A penalty right in front of the posts gifted the Eels two points through Michael Doolan, which extended Parramatta’s lead 16-6 with 12 minutes remaining of the first half.

The Eels chose to take the kick again after another penalty only a few minutes later, as Doolan added another two for the home side.

An error off the kick off proved costly for the home side as the Broncos made the most of their attacking position off a line drop out. David Fauid found space down the sideline before passing inside to Gehamat Shibasaki who scored for the visitors. The conversion was successful taking the score to 18-12 after 33 minutes of play.

The Eels were in again before the break as Dargan set up Dane Aukafolau who crossed for Parramatta’s fourth try in the 37th minute.

However, the home side wasn’t finished there, as Troy Dargan kicked a 40/20 with 40 seconds left on the clock. After being held up over the line, the Eels had two seconds on the clock for one final play, which saw Dargan cross for his first try of the game. The Eels took a 26-12 lead into the sheds at half time.

It was a mixed start to the second half as both teams struggled to build any pressure in attack. Strong lead up work from the Parramatta forwards up the middle forced a line drop out, however they were unable to find points.

The home side starting giving away penalties, handing the visitors some close opportunities to find the line. However defence prevailed again as the Broncos kept coming up with errors.

The first try of the second half came in the 59th minute as George Fair crashed over for the Broncos. O’Hara added the two, taking the score to 26-18 with 20 minutes of play remaining.

Neither team was able to cross the line during the next passage of play, as the error count started to rise. However, this also displayed the solid effort in defence from the home side.

The game came to an end as Dane Aukafolau crossed for his second and as Michael Doolan converted, the Eels sealed the victory, 32-18.

Parramatta Eels: 32 (Mati-Leifi 4, Aukafolau 2, Dargan. Doolan 4/6, Mati-Leifi 0/1. Penalty Goals: Doolan 2/2)

Brisbane Broncos: 18 (Fauid, Shibasaki, Fair. O’Hara 3/3)

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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