The Parramatta Eels have rallied from a 12-0 deficit to come away with a convincing 28-14 win over the Brisbane Broncos in their NRL Telstra Premiership Round 21 clash at ANZ Stadium.
The Eels went into the match sitting in seventh position and needing a win to go one step closer to their first finals berth since 2009.
The Blue and Gold were without inspirational fullback Clint Gutherson who had suffered an ACL tear against the Tigers the week previous. In his place was livewire fullback Bevan French with the Eels welcoming back Kirisome Auva’a and Peni Terepo from long-term injuries.
Parramatta also had to contend with a returning Darius Boyd at fullback for the Broncos.
In the 5th minute Brisbane drew first blood when Matt Gillett crashed over to the right of the uprights after James Roberts made a break down the right edge. Jordan Kahu converted to give the Broncos a 6-0 lead.
The Broncos were in again two minutes later when James Roberts sliced through 15 metres out. Kahu converted and they led 12-0.
The Eels struck back in the 15th minute through Tepai Moeroa who scooped up a grubber kick from Mitchell Moses and crossed on the right edge. The halfback went right to the line before popping the kick in behind the on-rushing defence with Parramatta’s hard-running backrower winning the race to the ball.
Corey Norman converted to bring the Eels back to a 12-6 scoreline.
Parramatta were in again two minutes later when Mitchell Moses took the ball at first receiver and threw a harbour bridge pass that landed in the grasp of Kirisome Auva’a who went over untouched in the right corner.
Mitchell Moses converted from the sideline to level the scores.
With only three minutes to go in the half, Nathan Brown caught Broncos winger Jonus Pearson high triggering a scuffle. Brown was put on report and Brisbane awarded a penalty.
The Broncos were then awarded a penalty 30 metres out and right in front where they opted to kick a penalty goal, giving them a 14-12 lead at half-time.
After 14 minutes gone in the second half and the Eels having set up camp on the Broncos line they drew level courtesy of a Moses penalty goal earnt by Cameron King.
With 11 minutes to go Michael Jennings scooted from dummy-half only 20 metres from the Brisbane line and kicked for himself. Adam Blair cut off his path to the ball and the Eels were awarded a penalty while Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough was helped from the field with a knee injury after colliding with Jennings.
The Eels opted to take a shot at penalty goal with Moses making no mistake to the Blue and Gold a 16-14 lead.
Suaia Matagi took the ensuing kick-off and after barging his way up field found a flying Jennings who was only reeled in by Darius Boyd 15 metres from the try line. Semi Radradra then got his timing wrong and threw a pass over the sideline.
Parramatta got back into strong field position and in the 75th minute the Eels went down their right edge with Kenny Edwards finding Mitchell Moses out the back who sent Auva’a down the touch line and the right winger bagged his second try of the match.
Moses kept his perfect kicking record for the night, landing the kick from the touchline.
Brisbane opted for a short restart with Brad Takairangi claiming the ball while simultaneously knocking Nathan Brown out.
In the 78th minute Bevan French iced the match; darting from dummy-half, the fullback squeezed between Josh McGuire and Ben Hunt to plant the ball just to the left of the posts.
Mitchell Moses converted and the Eels triumphed 28-14.
Parramatta Eels 20 (Tries: Moeroa, Auva’a (2), French Goals: Norman 1/1, Moses 5/5)
Brisbane Broncos 14 (Tries: Gillett, Roberts Goals: Kahu 3/3)