Young Eels outmuscle Sea Eagles

The Dyldam Parramatta Eels Under 20s have defeated the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 36-6 at Brookvale Oval in Round 7 of the Holden Cup.

Some late changes saw a handful of young faces added to the Sea Eagles side, with the Blue and Gold proving too much for the home side to handle in terms of size and power. 

Eels centre Mason Cerruto cleaned up the initial shallow Sea Eagles kick off, putting the Blue and Gold on the front foot for most of the opening 40 minutes. 

Piggybacking on two early penalties for field position, the Eels sent the ball wide to Atini Gafa in the 4th minute, who stormed through the Manly defensive line and charged 20 metres to open the scoring, taking two defenders with him.

A Troy Dargan chip to the left corner just 6 minutes later saw Jermaine Mati-Leifi collect the football for his first four-pointer of the day.

Tom Amone sent a sneaky offload to lock Craig Field to barrel through under the posts and extend the Eels’ lead, with the easy positioning giving Troy Dargan a simple job in slotting his first successful conversion of the night.

Mati-Leifi was on the receiving end of a soaring cut-out pass from fullback Michael Doolan in the 23rd minute, adding another four points to the Blue and Gold’s tally, and Mason Cerruto crossed in the 27th minute for a solid 22-0 lead.

Late defensive lapses from Parramatta opened up a window for the home side in the dying minutes of the first half, and centre Jesse Ramien strolled through a gap to open the Sea Eagles’ account. Manly five-eighth Nicho Hynes added the extras to send the Eels back to the sheds with a 22-6 lead. 

Fresh from the break, the Blue and Gold bulldozed the home side again, as Kurt De Luis barrelled over running onto a short ball from the dummy-half just metres out.

With Jermaine Mati-Leifi on kicking duties, the winger added another 2 points with the conversion, and in the 58th minute Mati-Leifi scored his third try of the game at the end of a swift left edge movement, catching his winger moving in.

Centre Dane Aukafolau extended the Eels’ lead to 36-6 with a try in the 67th minute, handing the Sea Eagles their seventh loss of the 2016 season.

Dyldam Parramatta Eels - 36 (Gafa, Mati-Leifi 3, C. Field, Cerruto, De Luis, Aukafolau. Dargan: 1/4. Mati-Leifi: 2/4)

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles - 6 (Ramien. Hynes: 1/1)