Eels grind out two points in back and forth affair
The Parramatta Eels have defeated the Wests Tigers in a grinding affair at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Eels came into the round eight clash with an unchanged line-up from the side that thrashed Manly a week prior.
Meanwhile Wests had a raft of changes including Mahe Fonua replacing Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Matt Eisenhuth shifting to lock for Elijah Taylor, Jacob Liddle moving to the bench for Pita Godinet, Sauaso Sue was promoted to the starting side and Tim Grant was added to the bench.
The Tigers were the first on the scoreboard courtesy of the boot of Esan Marsters kicking a penalty goal in the fifth minute.
Parramatta looked to try and break through on their right edge in the ninth minute but Michael Jennings spilled the ball in trying to find his brother.
The Eels though drew level in the 11th minute through the boot of Mitchell Moses after the Tigers were penalised on their own line for a strip..
Parramatta's defensive efforts were setting the tone for the match with Kaysa Pritchard nailing Chris Lawrence in a ball and all tackle and forcing a mistake.
The Tigers though were the first to breach the try line through Corey Thompson who benefited from a line break by Esan Marsters. The Tigers centre converted the try and Wests led 8-2 after 25 minutes.
Five minutes later and the Eels were level after Bevan French out-jumped David Nofoaluma for a Corey Norman cross-field kick. Moses' conversion saw the score at 8-8.
In the 34th minute the Blue and Gold went ahead through Michael Jennings who collected a Mitchell Moses offload after the diminutive halfback took the ball to the line and managed to get his arms free to pop the pass.
The halfback was unable to add the extras and the Eels led 12-8.
On the stroke of half time the Tigers added another penalty goal through Esan Marsters which sent the sides to the sheds with the Eels leading 12-10.
Five minutes into the second half and the Tigers had the lead again after Matt Eisenhuth strolled over under the sticks off a deft no-look pass from Luke Brooks.
In the 60th minute the Eels hit back through Brad Takairangi. Off the back of a penalty tap, Manu Ma'u ran into the defensive line, popped a late offload to Kaysa Pritchard who found Takairangi on the left touch line.
Moses converted from the sideline and the Eels had an 18-16 lead.
Benji Marshall responded for the Tigers in the 15th minute and the conversion from Marsters gave them a 22-18 lead.
In the 69th minute the Eels found themselves on the attack and went to their left through Norman who talk the ball right to the line and found a rampaging Manu Ma'u who crashed over.
Mitchell Moses converted the try and the Eels led 24-22.
With the match in the balance in the final 10 minutes both sides looked to find a breakthrough and the Tigers began to play up tempo.
In the 79th minute, with the Tigers flooding downfield and looking to break Blue and Gold hearts, Kaysa Pritchard pulled off a fantastic hit on halfway to jolt the ball free.
The Eels ground out the final 90 seconds of the match to win their second game of the season 24-22.
Diminutive rake Kaysa Pritchard was awarded man of the match for his 80 minute performance which saw plenty of bruising defence.
The Blue and Gold travel to Shark Park next Saturday night as they look to win three on the trot.
Parramatta Eels 24 (Tries: French, M Jennings, Takairangi, Ma'u. Goals: Moses 4/5)
Wests Tigers 22 (Tries: Thompson, Eisenhuth, Marshall. Goals: Marsters 5/5)