Eels fall to Premiers in Townsville
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have fallen to the North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium tonight, going down 32-16, with two late tries to the Premiers securing the victory for the home side.
The opening 10 minutes were physical, aggressive football as the sides traded sets with aggression.
The Eels looked to open the scoring after Corey Norman skipped through the defensive line, with captain Kieran Foran finishing off the try - but the bunker controversially overturned the on-field decision due to an obstruction from Manu Ma’u.
The next set the Cowboys crossed the strip for their first try of the night, with second-rower Gavin Cooper scoring a try off an inside ball from Jonathan Thurston.
Thurston converted the try, putting the home side in front 6-0 after 12 minutes.
After picking up back-to-back penalties, the Cowboys scored again, this time through fullback Lachlan Coote who was on the receiving end of a pass from Michael Morgan.
Ball-handling errors from both sides marred the end of the first half, with the Eels coming very close through prop Danny Wicks, who had played the ball before the referee checked upstairs.
The Cowboys added an extra penalty after the siren, with the Eels back-chatting advancing it ten metres, allowing Thurston to kick the goal.
North Queensland went to the halftime break leading 14-0.
The Eels started the second half strongly, with winger Semi Radradra picking up a loose ball from Justin O’Neill and racing almost 90 metres to score his first try for the game.
Michael Gordon was successful with the conversion from near the sideline, adding the extras.
Less than 10 minutes later he was over for his second, somehow managing to get his hands to a Corey Norman grubber and scoring an incredible try.
Gordon not so lucky with the second conversion attempt, with the score difference narrowing to four points.
Centre Michael Jennings kept the Eels’ momentum rolling, taking an intercept and running 80 metres down the field to equalise the scores, with Gordon’s conversion putting the Eels in front.
The Cowboys picked up a penalty from Nathan Peats being offside and rolled down the field, with the referee looking upstairs for a possible try from Michael Morgan.
The try was denied, but Eels’ five-eighth Corey Norman was ruled to have committed a professional foul and sent to the sin-bin in the 66th minute.
Jonathan Thurston kicked the penalty goal, tying the scores up at 16-16.
North Queensland made the most of the Eels playing with 12 men, nudging in front with a try through Antonio Winterstein, converted by Thurston.
The Cowboys scored a converted try to half Morgan in the 76th minute off a scrum play, before Morgan scored his second try of the night in the final minute of play to secure a 32-16 victory.
Parramatta Eels 16 (Radradra 2, Jennings, Gordon 2 goals)
North Queensland Cowboys 32 (Morgan 2, Cooper, Coote, Winterstein, Thurston 4 goals, 2 pen goals)