Eels NYC fall in tight Broncos affair
The Parramatta Eels have suffered a 14-8 defeat to the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium tonight in a tight and scrappy affair in Round 25 of the Holden Cup competition.
The Eels had plenty of possession early, with repeat sets on the Broncos line early as Blue & Gold halves Dean Matterson and Dylan Brown forced three repeat sets in the opening stanza, and the Eels looking to put early points on the board.
But it was the home side who put first points on the board, when centre Haydyn O’Hara won the race to a grubber, off the boot of Josh Fauid, to give the Broncos a 6-0 lead after 10 minutes.
The Eels had a stroke of luck in the 25th minute of the clash, that brought about their first points, when a bouncing grubber off the boot of Brown was unable to be cleaned up by the Broncos in goal. Winger John Fonua was on the spot to plant the loose ball out wide.
The conversion attempt from the sideline was waved away and the Broncos held a 6-4 lead.
The Broncos had a handful of opportunities just before half time, but the Eels defence looked desperate to head to the sheds trailing by just two points.
But as the siren loomed, some over-enthusiastic defence from the young Blue & Gold provided an opportunity to the Broncos to extend their lead, and half Gerome Burns kicked a penalty goal from 10m out in front to give the home side a 8-4 lead heading into the sheds.
The second half stanza became a real war of attrition, and a back and forth contest, with both sides looking to gain ascendency.
Penalties to both sides gifted each team attacking opportunities to score in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but neither side was unable to convert the possession into points.
The Broncos NYC finally turned their possession into points in the 65th minute of the clash, when half Fauid sliced through the Eels left edge before offloading to hooker Tristan Hope in support who ran the final 10m to score a converted try under the posts.
The Eels began their late comeback when Fonua crossed for his second of the evening in the 72nd minute of the clash.
After forward Junior Salesi was held up over the line, the ball went quickly through the hands and it found the winger with room to move out wide and dive over in the corner to close the gap to a converted try.
The Eels continued to throw plenty in attack in the final few minutes of the game, but as the fulltime siren loomed, the Blue & Gold became more desperate for points.
A forced drop out in the final minute of play, led to a kick over the top for the final play of the game, with the Eels hopeful of scoring to give themselves an opportunity to level the game. However the Broncos won the race to the ball, securing the 14-8 victory over the Blue & Gold.
Parramatta Eels NYC 8 (Tries: John Fonua (2); Goals: Dylan Brown 0/2)
Brisbane Broncos NYC 14 (Tries: Haydyn O’Hara, Tristan Hope; Goals: Gerome Burns 3/3)