The Dyldam Parramatta Eels Holden Cup 2016 campaign has come to an end, after suffering a 54-24 defeat to a rampant Wests Tigers side at Allianz Stadium this afternoon (Sunday 11 September).
It was a nervous start by both sides to start the Elimination Final, with the Eels and Wests Tigers sides coming away with early errors in their own half to kick off the clash.
As both sides looked to settle the nerves and get into their regular rhythm, it was the Wests Tigers who looked to have opened the scoring but an offside ruling as Esan Marsters planted the ball for the opposition denied the first four pointer of the clash.
With the Eels working their way down field, a repeat set forced by halfback Troy Dargan put the Blue and Gold in perfect position to put first points on the board. The ball was spread through the hands, and it was Dargan who came up with the final pass, throwing a short ball to centre Atini Gafa who crossed the line for a converted try in the 10th minute.
The Eels looked to be in again in the 15th minute, with Dargan throwing a cut out ball to winger Mason Cerruto, but with the line open, the winger was unable to take the pass and Wests Tigers winger Oben Karwhin intercepted it to run 95m, beating the chase of Tom Amone and James Gammidge to score a converted try in the corner.
The try to Karwhin kick started a huge shift in momentum and the points beginning to flow, with the Wests Tigers crossing for five tries in the next 25 minutes.
The Wests Tigers trouble the Eels defence with plenty of second phase play and offloads close to the line and the tries came thick and fast for the opposition with winger Roman Ioelu and centre Toa Mata’afa crossing for two tries a piece as the Wests Tigers built a 26-6 lead over the Blue and Gold.
However the never say die attitude from the Eels was on show, when off the back of a penalty, the Blue and Gold worked their way down field in the 38th minute. A quick display of hands from Dargan, Michael Doolan and Dean Matterson put Mason Cerruto over untouched to close the gap.
With just seconds on the clock, the Eels scored an incredible back to back try, after an individual effort from Tyrell Fuimaono busting through the defence, before offloading to Tuimavave Afualo in support to score to the right of the posts and enter the sheds trailing 18-26.
The Eels would have been hoping to continue with their momentum to kick off the second half, but it was the Wests Tigers who crossed early, striking 5 minutes into the second half.
After a 40/20 from halfback Daniel Roberts putting the side into great attacking opportunity, a short ball from Veiru Mapesone saw forward Mark McCormack one on one with Dargan and the forward was too big and crashed over for a converted try.
The Wests Tigers struck again, after building some pressure through a drop out, and it was the charging centre Tony Tali who cut back on the inside and barged his way over to score, extending the Wests Tigers lead to 38-18.
Hooker Jacob Liddle made his mark on the game, probing around the ruck finding some tiring markers to slice through the defence and get in behind the ruck. As Cerruto came across in defence, a draw and pass to fullback Luke Sharpe put the fullback over to score.
The hooker scored his own four pointer in the 65th minute of the clash, scooting from 20m out to find some space in the defensive line and extend the lead with an extended try to 48-18.
An individual effort from Michael Doolan, chipping over the top off a scrum, saw the fullback regather his own kick and score to the left of the posts, before converting his own try.
With the full time siren looming, forward Esan Marsters showed some footwork close to the line and crossed for his own four pointer, putting a stamp on a Wests Tigers 54-24 victory, ending the 2016 Blue and Gold Holden Cup campaign.
Parramatta Eels 24 (Tries: Atini Gafa, Mason Cerruto, Tuimavave Afualo, Michael Doolan; Goals: Michael Doolan 4/4)
Wests Tigers 54 (Tries: Obed Karwhin, Roman Ioelu (2), Toa Mata’afa (2), Mark McCormack, Tony Tali, Luke Sharpe, Jacob Liddle, Esan Marsters; Goals: Roman Ioelu 7/10)