Late rush from Rabbitohs spells heartbreak for Eels
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have been defeated 22-20 in a come from behind victory for the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Pirtek Stadium on Friday night.
The game was scrappy in the early stages as both teams struggled to build pressure through the lack of completions.
It proved costly for the Eels as back-to-back penalties followed which put the visitors in some good attacking position. Souths were able to spread the ball and find an overlap on the right wing as Michael Oldfield crossed in the corner. The conversion from Adam Reynolds was unsuccessful as the Rabbitohs took a 4-0 lead after 13 minutes.
The game continued to be interrupted by errors and penalties as both teams continued to struggled finding any rhythm.
The visitors took advantage of a penalty, opting to take the two points in the 17th minute to take their lead to a converted try.
Strong defence from the Rabbitohs made it difficult for the Eels to make decent metres.
However, the visitors struggled to complete their own sets as frustration started to set in for the Rabbitohs.
A more composed set from the Eels in the 25th minute saw Greg Inglis forced back to the in goal and a repeat set for the home side.
Kenny Edwards was taken off the field after a high hit by Greg Inglis, and did not return.
The Eels started to find some form as a result of better fifth tackle options. Corey Norman dominated the kicking game for the Eels as his cross-field bomb was caught by non other than a flying Semi Radradra who scored to put the first points on the board for the Eels. Michael Gordon’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful as the Eels trailed 6-4 after 28 minutes.
The Eels started to find form as a charge down and regather by Isaac De Gois swung momentum in favour of the home side.
A strong hit up and offload by Manu Ma’u sent Michael Jennings away who passed to Semi Radradra who crossed for his second of the night. Gordon added the extras as the Eels took the lead 10-6 in the 37th minute.
A drop ball under the high bomb by Alex Johnston summed up the error filled first half for the Rabbitohs as this time the Eels made the most of the opportunity.
The lack of completions and errors proved to be costly as the Eels were able to capitalise when Vai Toutai charged his way to the line carrying four Souths defenders with him, to put another try on the board for the home side before the break. The Eels taking a 14-6 lead over the Rabbitohs into the sheds at half time.
A penalty to the Eels early in the first half gave the home side an opportunity to extend their lead and after capitalising on opportunities as nice lead up play from the Eels ended with winger Semi Radradra in for a hat-trick and a 20-6 lead.
An error off the first set after the kick off hindered the Eels as the Rabbitohs were able to start their set just 10 metres out.
Souths were quick to respond as a result, when Krisome Auva’a crossed in the corner in the 48th minute. Reynolds successfully converted as the Rabbitohs trailed 20-12.
In the 51st minute, the bunker overturned the on field decision of try for the Rabbitohs, denying Adam Reynolds of four points.
The Eels continued to play some excting football and seemed to be controlling the game well.
The Rabbitohs were physical in defence as they started to become frustrated with their errors and lack of attacking position.
The home side however, remained composed and continued to build pressure in attack, with many repeat sets and penalties going their way.
Souths looked to score in the 68th minute, but the scrambling defence from the Eels held them out as Clinton Gutherson returned the ball from the in goal into the field of play.
A one on one strip in the 71st minute gave Souths possession 10 metres out which proved costly as moments later Bryson Goodwin scored in the corner for the visitors. The kick was unsuccessful from Reynolds as the Eels led 20-16 with less than ten minutes of the game remaining.
The Eels stayed composed, trying to maintain their four-point lead with controlled sets and simple fifth tackle options.
It wasn’t enough to hold out the visitors, as a last minute spread of the football from Greg Inglis sent Aaron Gray over to level up the scores. Adam Reynolds had a difficult kick from the sideline but was successful to put his team ahead 22-20 with less than a minute remaining.
The Eels attempted a short restart but were unable to come up with the ball, as the visitors held on 22-20 to seal the win.
South Sydney Rabbitohs - 22 (Oldfield, Auva’a, Goodwin, Gray. Conversions: 2/4 Reynolds. Penalty goals: Reynolds 1/1)
Parramatta Eels - 20 (Radradra 3, Toutai. Conversions - Gordon: 2/4)