The Parramatta Eels have suffered a 26-14 defeat to the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium in Round Three of the NRL Telstra Premiership tonight (Friday 17 March).
The Eels were looking to carry on from their two opening victories in the first two rounds, and travelled up to the Gold Coast, a venue where they had not tasted success since 2014.
However the Eels were buoyed with plenty of confidence early when they opened up the scoring in the ninth minute of the game.
Half Clint Gutherson popped a short ball to forward Beau Scott who poked his head through a hole in defence, and the half loomed in support to receive an offload back on the inside from Scott. Gutherson strolled across the line underneath the posts before converting his own try to give the Eels a six point lead.
The Eels were in another great attacking position, this time off the back of some tough defence in the lead up. Gutherson kicked long to the corner before leading the chase as Manu Ma’u and Tepai Moeroa assisted in support to pin Titan debutant Tyler Cornish in goal to earn a drop out.
As the Eels attacked the Titans line, fullback Bevan French floated across the field before dropping the ball back on the inside for winger Semi Radradra in space. The winger found himself charging at the line before throwing the ball back on the inside to Jeff Robson in support who scored a converted try in the 15th minute.
The Titans had several opportunities to score, but some scrambling and desperate defence from the Eels kept their scoresheet clean.
However, after two penalties and a forward pass from the Eels, the poor discipline gave the Titans strong field position to score.
And they put points on the board in the 27th minute when Chris McQueen picked up the ball from dummy half and barged over close to the line to score a converted try.
Back to back penalties in the final minutes of the half gave the Titans an opportunity to score late in the first half and they punished the Eels ill discipline with a try on the half time buzzer.
A long cut out ball from Ash Taylor found fellow Titans half Kane Elgey throwing the final pass to Cornish to dive over in the corner. Taylor converting the try from the side line as the teams headed to the sheds locked 12 points a piece.
In the Eels first set of the second half, the Blue & Gold attacked the Titans line and earnt a penalty just to the left of the posts. Gutherson opted to take the two points, knocking over the penalty in the 43rd minute of the clash.
The Titans fought to stay in the clash in the first half, and after a Gutherson kick out on the full and a Radradra knock on 10m out from the Eels line, luck to the home side delivered their third try of the night.
An Ash Taylor grubber bounced into the legs of Takairangi, and after a few ricochets, the ball bounced up for Elgey to dive over and score a converted try.
In a near identical scenario, Radradra knocked the ball on 10m out from his own line as he tried to clean up a grubber. A penalty followed shortly after as the Titans kicked a penalty to hold a 20-14 lead.
The next 15 minutes of play saw the Eels unable to find their rhythm and penalties and further ill discipline continued to hamper the Eels as they looked to score points.
The Titans put things further in doubt when they scored a try in the 74th minuted of the match. A chip over the top from Taylor was contested in the air, batted back before falling into the arms of Tyrone Roberts to plant it. Taylor converted the try to extend their lead to twelve.
The score remained unchanged for the final few minutes of the match, with the Gold Coast Titans coming away 26-14 victors.
Parramatta Eels 14 (Tries: Clinton Gutherson, Jeff Robson; Goals: Clint Gutherson 2/2; Penalty: Clint Gutherson 1/1)
Gold Coast Titans 26 (Tries: Chris McQueen, Tyler Cornish, Kane Elgey, Tyrone Roberts; Goals Ash Taylor 4/4; Penalty: Ash Taylor 1/1)