The Parramatta Eels have kicked off Day Two of the 2017 Downer NRL Auckland Nines with a nervous 17-12 victory over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, despite resting a handful of their stars to kick off the day.
Both sides settled into the game with some hard aggressive running and non-expansive football and it came down to a Sea Eagles error that gave the Blue & Gold their first opportunity of the clash.
Looking to gain field position, the Sea Eagles opted for an early kick in the tackle count, but the ball flew out on the full giving the Eels possession on the 40m line. An individual effort from Nathan Brown saw a grubber behind the defensive line, a rebound off the post before the forward regathered his own kick to score a converted bonus zone try, giving the Eels a 7-0 lead.
Some smart work from Cameron King and Josh Hoffman saw a crossfield kick batted back to Bevan French for the winger to win the race to the line and score his second try of the tournament out wide.
The Eels entered the half time break with an 11-0 lead.
A short kick off to start the second half saw the Sea Eagles on the attack straight away, and after a few repeat sets on the Blue & Gold line, the defensive line cracked with Manly winger Akuila Uate crossing over out wide.
The Sea Eagles regained possession again with a short kick off and it lead to a try with forward Curtis Sironen crashing over next to the posts.
Another quick try to Sea Eagles Brian Kelly saw the Sea Eagles take a one point lead, 12-11, with a few minutes to go in the clash.
The Eels finally gained possession in the second half, after 4 minutes of action, and they immediately made their way down field. Honeti Tuha looked to have put his winger into space, but the ball was knocked down by the Sea Eagles, giving the Eels possession on the 20m line.
An individual effort from stand-in skipper Tepai Moeroa saw the forward run over the top of three defenders to cross over the line and put the Eels back in front to secure the win, 17-12.
A top of the table result sees the Eels take on the Gold Coast Titans in the Quarter Finals at 2:20pm (NZDT) / 12:20pm AEDT.