The Dyldam Parramatta Eels Holden Cup side have suffered a 10-32 defeat to a flying St. George Illawarra Dragons side at Pirtek Stadium tonight.
Head Coach Luke Burt would have had his side prepared to take on the Dragons, naming an unchanged seventeen from the side named earlier in the week for the clash, but it was the away side that started the game with all the momentum.
The Dragons camped down the Blue and Gold half in the opening 15 minutes of the stanza, with some half breaks to Eels winger Jermaine Mati-Leifi providing some half chances to the Eels, but the Red V struck first through winger Paora Kemp who beat two defenders to dive over out wide for a converted try.
The Dragons fullback Matt Dufty strolled over untouched in the 20th minute, with a simple show and go to slice through the defence, before halfback Jack Payne won the footrace to a grubber to plant the Dragons third try and secure a 0-16 lead.
Some tough work in the middle of the field saw the Eels manage to stop the flow of tries but with the Dragons on song, fullback Dufty stepped inside the defence to cross to the left of the posts in the 29th minute.
The Eels didn’t stop trying and it took a barnstorming run from prop forward Jamie Stowers close to the line to crash over three defenders and score the opening try to the Blue and Gold in the 30th minute.
The Eels had one more opportunity before the half time siren, but a forward pass to winger James Gammidge as he crossed the line meant the Eels headed to the sheds trailing 6-22.
The half time break didn’t seem to slow down the Dragons, who came out of the sheds in full flight. Centre Patrick Herbert looked certain to score a try, scooping up a grubber and running 80m down field before some scrambling defence pulled down the flyer to prevent a certain four pointer.
Both sides got into the grind, and some entertaining, end to end football ensued and it took a sin binning to Dragons fullback Dufty to have an impact on the game. The Eels made the away side pay, going through the hands with fullback Mason Cerruto drawing and passing the last defender to put Mati-Leifi over in the corner.
However the Eels come back was ended when the Dragons crossed out wide through their centre Herbert in the 70th minute, extending their lead, 10-26.
The Dragons emphasised the victory with a 80m run away intercept to half Jai Field in the 75th minute, as the Red V came away 10-32 victors.
St George Illawarra Dragons 32 (Tries: Paora Kemp, Matt Dufty (2), Jack Payne, Patrick Herbert, Jai Field; Goals Jai Field 4/6)
Parramatta Eels 10 (Tries: Jamie Stowers, Jermaine Mati-Leifi; Goals Michael Doolan 1/2)