The Parramatta Eels have gone down to the Newcastle Knights 30-4 in their round 13 Telstra Premiership clash at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
The Blue and Gold had a couple of late changes with Nathan Brown making his long awaited return from injury on the bench, David Gower moving into the starting side and Siosaia Vave dropping out of the 17.
In the third minute Newcastle grubbered into the in-goal but Kalyn Ponga knocked the ball on with Bevan French leaving the field for a head injury assessment and was declared unable to return.
The reshuffle in the Eels back-line saw Will Smith take over the fullback role.
In the 14th minute a Knights bomb was spilled by Mitchell Moses and Jack Coggar flew through to colleft the ball and score under the posts.
Ponga converted from in front and Newcastle led 6-0.
With the Eels on the attack in the 25th minute Mitchell Moses took the line on and was caught in an awkward tackle, twisting his leg underneath himself and injuring his knee, forcing the halfback from the field.
The injury to Moses led to another reshuffle for the Blue and Gold with Clint Gutherson shifting to halfback, Brad Takairangi to five-eighth and Manu Ma’u to left centre.
In the 27th minute Newcastle converted a penalty goal from in front to go up 8-0.
Parramatta’s tough night got worse in the 36th minute with centre Michael Jennings sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul and Peter Mata’utia crashing over from close range in the ensuing set.
Kalyn Ponga’s conversion sent the sides to the sheds with the Novacastrians leading 14-0.
In the 42nd minute Newcastle looked to have scored through former Eel Ken Sio but for a last ditch effort from Will Smith and Nathan Brown which knocked the ball loose over the line.
In the 47th minute Ken Sio did get a try, this time grounding a kick that Will Smith failed to knock dead.
Ponga converted to give Newcastle a 20-0 lead.
In the 55th minute Daniel Saifiti crashed over from short range and Ponga converted to give them a 26-0 lead.
Peni Terepo then left the field for a head injury assessment and did not return.
In the 68th minute Connor Watson sliced through on the left hand side and slid over in the corner. Ponga was unable to convert and Newcastle led 30-0.
Following the play Will Smith left the field with a hamstring injury, leaving the Blue and Gold with no further interchange players.
In the 75th minute the Eels broke their drought when they went to their right edge through Gutherson and Takairangi who found Hoffman going back against the grain.
Gutherson was unable to convert and the score stood at 30-4.
Parramatta Eels 4 (Tries: Hoffman. Goals: Gutherson 0/1)
Newcastle Knights 30 (Tries: Coggar, Mata’utia, Sio, Saifiti, Watson. Goals: Ponga 5/6)