The Parramatta Eels have fallen to the Newcastle Knights 29-10 in their Round 23 NRL Telstra Premiership clash at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
The loss is the first for the Eels in seven matches and halts the Blue and Gold’s momentum running into the finals.
Newcastle drew first blood through former Eel Ken Sio who crossed on the left wing inside the first five minutes. Trent Hodkinson converted from the sideline and the Knights led 6-0.
In the 8th minute Mitch Barnett scored Newcastle’s second after Brock Lamb sliced through on halfway. Hodkinson converted and Newcastle led 12-0.
The Eels struck back in the 18th minute when they went to their right edge only 40 metres from their own line and Jennings cut through down the edge. The speedy centre was far too quick for Knights fullback Dane Gagai and Parramatta were back in the game.
Mitchell Moses was unable to convert and the Eels trailed 12-4.
Parramatta drove back down their left edge on their next set and earnt a penalty after Newcastle were caught offside from a Ma’u kick.
The Eels though were unable to cash in on their position with Auva’a getting driven into touch on the fourth tackle.
Parramatta moved back into good field position but Semi Radradra was dragged into touch as he was reaching out to score in the left corner.
In the final minute of the half Corey Norman bombed to the left-hand corner with Brad Takairangi tapping the ball back and Will Smith scooping the loose ball up to cross untouched. Moses converted and the Blue and Gold went the sheds trailing 12-10.
In the 50th minute Parramatta survived a scare when Peter Mata’utia was found to be in front of kicker Trent Hodkinson after thinking he’d scored Newcastle’s third try of the night.
Will Smith was then sent to the sin bin in the 54th minute after he slowed down the play-the-ball in a try scoring position.
Lachlan Fitzgibbon crashed over on the right edge and Newcastle went 18-10 up with 25 minutes to go.
With 20 minutes to go Brock Lamb forced his way over from close range to give Newcastle a 24-10 lead.
In the 67th minute Ken Sio scored his second in the left-hand corner and Hodkinson’s missed sideline conversion gave the Knights a 28-10 lead.
The Eels looked to have grabbed a late try in Manu Ma’u crossed only for it to be called back due to a Moses knock-on.
In the 78th minute Brock Lamb kicked a field goal to give the Knights a final score of 29-10.
Parramatta Eels 10 (Tries: Jennings, Smith. Goals: Moses 1/2)
Newcastle Knights 29 (Tries: Sio (2), Barnett, Fitzgibbon, Lamb. Goals: Hodkinson 4/5, Lamb 1/1 field goal)