The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have defeated the Canberra Raiders 36-6 in an incredible performance to conclude Saturday's triple header at Pirtek Stadium.
The Eels kickstarted their game with a great attacking set, which saw Corey Norman making a break and finding Michael Jennings in support who crossed over the line for the first points of the game. Michael Gordon added the two as the home side took the lead 6-0 after five minutes.
Aidan Sezer immediately responded as he forced a line drop out as the Eels then had to defend back-to-back sets.
The Raiders looked to be in after Sezer put a grubber kick through to the in goal for his halves partner Blake Austin however the bunker confirmed he didn’t ground the ball.
Parramatta looked sharp in attack and looked almost certain to score again before the ball found the head of Jennings.
The Eels continued to mount pressure as they forced a line drop out.
The Foran-Norman combination was in full force as Norman threw a flat ball to Jennings who came flying through to score under the posts. Gordon converted taking the lead to 12-0 after 16 minutes.
The home side continued to look threatening in attack and their strong effort in defence continued to force errors from the Raiders as they struggled with their completions.
Parramatta’s constant force in attack took its toll on the Raiders when Keiran Foran sidestepped his way through Canberra’s defensive line and then stepped again to past Josh Papalii before scoring for the Blue and Gold. Gordon added the extras as the Eels stretched their lead out to 18-0 after 25 minutes.
The pressure seemed all too much for the Raiders as the Eels found themselves metres away from the try line again in the 29th minute. Corey Norman’s kick ended up rebounding off the legs of the Canberra defence and landed in front of Beau Scott who picked it up and grounded it for Parramatta’s fourth try of the afternoon, taking the Eels' to a 22-0 lead with eight minutes remaining in the half.
Canberra looked to get a try back in the last few minutes of the half as Jordan Rapana made a break down the right wing, but was brought down 20 metres away from the try line. A penalty then made it seem as though the Raiders would have their first of the afternoon but another error forced by Parramatta’s defence held them scoreless in the first half.
The Raiders came out strong in the second half, putting pressure on the Eels in defence. The home side was forced to defend six sets on their goal line back to back but were able to hold the Raiders scoreless after eventually forcing an error. The Blue and Gold army erupted as the side celebrated their exceptional defensive effort.
Shaun Fensom was put on report after being penalised for a dangerous tackle as the Raiders continued to struggle against the domination from the Eels.
The Raiders looked to have an attacking opportunity after catching a bomb in the in goal and having started their set with seven tackles. However, Edrick Lee dropped the ball off the first play and Parramatta was back in striking distance.
The first points of the second half came through a grubber kick from Kieran Foran that was dropped in goal by Sezer and collected and grounded by Kenny Edwards. The conversion was successful from Gordon and the Blue and Gold took a 30-point lead in the 58th minute.
Canberra needed to find an alternative way to get past Parramatta’s impenetrable defensive line as they scored a miracle try in the 63rd minute off the back off some offloads and a kick towards the in goal as Blake Austin just managed to ground the ball. Jarrod Croker added the extras as the Raiders trailed 30-6.
Corey Norman’s kick was collected by Jack Wighton in the 74th minute who ran 40 metres down field before the ball was forced out by some wonderful defence by Clint Gutherson. The Eels were awarded a penalty after the referee caught Sezer giving some backchat.
The Eels weren’t done there, as Norman put up a bomb on the last play that was collected by Brad Takairangi mid air and then grounded over the line for the Blue and Gold’s sixth try. Gordon continued his 100% success with the boot as Parramatta took the lead to 36-6 with four minutes remaining.
An outstanding performance by the Blue and Gold as they were able to keep the Raiders out for the rest of the game, securing the win 36-6.
Dyldam Parramatta Eels - 36 (Jennings 2, Foran, Scott, Edwards, Takairangi. Conversions: Gordon: 6/6.)
Canberra Raiders - 6 (Austin. Conversion. Croker: 1/1.)