The Dyldam Parramatta Eels Holden Cup side have been defeated 34-12 by the North Queensland Cowboys this afternoon at Pirtek Stadium.
The visitors were the first on the scoreboard after the Eels gave away a penalty in the first minute of the game. The Cowboys found some room on the left wing and Marcus Jensen crossed in the corner, taking the lead 4-0.
The Cowboys were in again a few minutes later when Ty Carucci sent his winger Nathan Traill down the right sideline, before he threw a pass back inside to Coen Hess for an 8-0 lead.
Momentum seemed to swing the way of the Cowboys in the first half, as a fumble from Parramatta’s fullback Mason Cerruto saw Coen Hess pick up the drop ball and cross for his second. Cody Grills converted right in front of the posts, as the Cowboys led 14-0.
While the Eels were faced with some opportunities at the other end of the field, they were unable to complete their sets and mount pressure.
The Cowboys seemed to be in control, finding the line on the fifth tackle and forcing errors from the home side.
Just as it looked like the Cowboys were in again, a drop ball right on the try line saw the Eels pick it up and make the most of the opportunity as Tyrell Fuimaono found space up the field. However, the Eels were still unable to convert the opportunities into points.
After some errors from the Cowboys and some back to back attacking sets, the Eels finally crossed in the 33rd minute via Tyrell Fuimaono. Michael Doolan was unable to convert, as the Eels trailed 14-4 with six minutes left of the first half.
A strong tackle from Jonathan Mose forced a drop ball right on the try line as he picked up the ball and made another break for the home side. A penalty advanced the play as the Eels looked to score again.
Mason Cerruto redeemed himself before the break, crossing for a try in the 39th minute. Doolan was unable to add the extras, and the Cowboys led at half time 14-8.
The Eels had a strong start to the second half when Cerruto set up Dane Aukafolau, but the Cowboys hit back in the 50th minute when Nathan Traill chased through and scored for the visitors. Grills successfully converted to extend their lead 20-12.
The Eels were able to find touch off the kick off, starting their set 10 metres out of the Cowboys line. Back to back penalties for the home side built some pressure but again the Eels were unable to add points.
The Cowboys forced a line drop out and off the back of that, were in again when Nathan Traill crossed for his second of the night. Conversion from Grills was unsuccessful, as the Cowboys further extended their lead 24-12 with 18 minutes of play remaining.
While the Eels had opportunities to hit back, the error count started to escalate and the game seemed to slip away.
In the 68th minute, Nathan Traill made a 60 metre run before tripping and being tackled 20 metres out. However, the Eels were unable to recover and Enari Tuala scored to take the visitors lead out to 30-12 after a successful conversion.
The errors kept hurting the home side as their completion percentage continued to drop.
The visitors were not done just yet, as Marcus Jensen was at the receiving end of a great cut out pass to score in the corner with one minute remaining, securing the win 34 points to 12.
North Queensland Cowboys - 34 (Hess 2, Traill 2, Jensen 2, Tuala Conversions: Grills 3/7).
Dyldam Parraatta Eels - 12 (Fuimaono, Cerruto, Aukafolau Conversions: Doolan 0/3).