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Photo: Robb Cox (c) NRL Photos

The Dyldam Parramatta Eels Under 20s have comprehensively defeated the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium on Easter Monday, with fullback Bevan French scoring a hattrick on his return from injury.

The Blue and Gold welcomed back fullback Bevan French from a fractured hand that saw him miss the first three rounds of competition, and the number one made his presence felt early with a try-saver in the corner to stop the Wests Tigers first attempt at the tryline. 

The Eels responded with a length-of-the-field try to Jermaine Mati-Leifi in the 4th minute, and doubled up in the 6th minute as a chip kick from half Troy Dargan spilled to the ground, only to be pounced on by Dane Aukafolau for a four pointer.

In the 9th minute, Jack Morris found the gap on the left edge, and popped an inside ball to French in support to score under the posts. And with Mati-Leifi struggling to find success with the boot, Dargan stepped in to convert.

French intervened again to hold up the home side’s attack under the posts on the Eels’ tryline, and Dargan powered the Parramatta attack up field with a 40/20. The halfback struck from 10 metres out with a dummy and step to beat two defenders and add another four points for the Eels. 

French wasted no time in creating more opportunity for the Blue and Gold, sneaking up on the right edge and drawing the Wests Tigers defence, and slipping a pass inside to his winger, Atini Gafa to leave the Eels just 15 metres out. From a Craig Field hit up, Dargan passed to Michael Doolan for a try under the posts, and Dargan added the 2 points.

The West Tigers cubs posted their first points of the match 28 minutes in, as their grubber ounce away from the Eels defenders for centre Ryland Jacobs to ground. Five-eighth Veiru Mapesone couldn’t add the extras, giving Parramatta a tidy 26-4 lead heading into the break.

The young Eels returned for the second half playing aggressive attacking footy, and when the Wests Tigers knocked on from the kick off, Parramatta seized the moment. Five-eighth Michael Doolan sent Atini Gafa over in the corner after just three minutes, only to be denied for a forward pass.

Tyrell Fuimaono was denied his own try in the 61st minute for a forward pass from Gafa, but French scored his second of the day in the 53rd minute on the end of a crisp left-hand-side backline movement. 

The Blue and Gold fullback drew the defence late in the second half to send Atini Gafa over the line again, pushing their lead to a commanding 32 points. 

Some razzle dazzle from the home side in the dying minutes came to nothing as the Eels added one last try courtesy of Bevan French and came away with a resounding 40-4 win, their third for the 2016 season.

Dyldam Parramatta Eels - 40 (Mati-Leifi, Aukafolau, French 3, Dargan, Doolan, Gafa. Mati-Leifi: 0/2. Dargan: 4/6)

Wests Tigers - 4 (Jacobs. Mapesone: 0/1)

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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