Eels slip past Warriors in New Zealand
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have secured seventh place on the Holden Cup ladder, progressing through to the Finals, after a dominant 32-18 victory over the New Zealand Warriors in wet and slippery conditions at Mt Smart Stadium.
The wet weather struck Auckland moments before kick off and both sides started the game cautiously, opting to kick long and play down the opposition end of the field.
Off the back of a penalty, it was the Warriors who first saw themselves in an attacking opportunity 20m out from the Blue and Gold line and they made the most of the position by coming away with points.
Fullback Kane Telea won the footrace to the grubber, to plant the ball to the left of the posts, before converting his own try to give the home side an early six point lead.
However the Eels continued to stay in the arm wrestle and worked their way down field.
Winger James Gammidge struck back for the Eels, on the end of a cut out ball from Dean Matterson, as the right winger dived over out wide for a converted try in the twelth minute.
The winger kept himself in the thick of the action, on the end of some superb lead up work from his inside men. Half Michael Doolan poked his head through the defensive line as he offloaded to Tuimavave Afualo who drew the fullback before offloading to Gammidge. The winger was run down in the final 10m but his momentum saw him slide across the line in the wet and slippery conditions as the Eels took a six point lead.
Half Matterson kept himself busy and an individual effort in the 22nd minute saw the five-eighth step off his left, grubber through for himself and win the footrace to plant it to the right of the posts.
The Warriors slowed the momemtum with a try of their own in the 34th minute with Lewis Soosemea winning the race from a Junior Pauga grubber to cross out wide.
However the Warriors side saw themselves immediately under pressure, knocking the ball on in the first hit up off the kick off. The Eels spread the ball off the scrum and winger Kelepi Manu dived over out wide to add the last points before half time, with the Blue and Gold heading to the sheds with a 12-22 lead.
The Eels looked in control in the second half and back rower Jack Morris crossed to the left of the posts, running a great line hitting a hole off a Doolan short ball. The half converted the try to extend the lead.
However in the wet conditions, errors began to creep into the game and errors from both sides became more and more apparent.
The Eels crossed through centre Afualo in the 56th minute, extending the lead 32-12.
The Warriors struck back in the 68th minute, with winger Preseton Riki winning the footrace to the bouncing grubber to plant it over out wide, but despite the converted try, the Warriors NYC were unable to mount a come back from behind.
The Eels NYC side coming away with a 32-18 victory at Mt Smart Stadium, securing seventh place on the Holden Cup ladder.
New Zealand Warriors 18 (Tries: Kane Telea, Lewis Soosemea, Preseton Riki; Goals: Kane Telea 3/4)
Parramatta Eels 32 (Tries: James Gammidge (2), Dean Matterson, Kelepi Manu, , Jack Morris, Tuimavave Afualo; Goals: Michael Doolan 4/6)