Eels Jersey Flegg make statement with win over Dragons
The Parramatta Eels Jersey Flegg side put 44 points on the St George Illawarra Dragons and conceded just 12 points in Round 18 at WIN Stadium on Saturday 14 July.
It was an all-around team performance that had eight Eels tries from seven different try scorers. Taufa Afu was a two try scorer and his scoreboard damage came in the 16th and 21st minutes.
The 32-point win was a confidence builder after the tough 18-10 victory against the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland last week.
More importantly, it puts the Blue & Gold up to sixth on the ladder and two competition points away from a spot in the top four.
First points came in the eighth minute when Eels prop Sean Keppie burrowed his way under two defenders, benefitting from Dylan Brown's line break on the previous play.
It started a barrage of Parramatta scoring as Haze Dunster (11th minute), Dylan Brown (12th minute), Taufa Afu (16th and 21st minute) and Todd Sapienza's four from five goal kicking created a 28-0 lead after 23 minutes.
Dunster scored untouched on the right wing after some threatening decoy runners took the attention of the defence.
The first of two Afu tries came from quick Brown and Sapienza shuffle pressure passes to the winger in the corner.
Five minutes later Afu was the beneficiary of a Keppie line break on the previous play, as the rattled Dragons defence got caught out numbered when the ball went through the hands for Afu to score untouched.
The home side scored their first try in the 22nd minute when rake Jason Gillard bullied his way to the try line from dummy-half.
There was a chance the match would become close when the Dragons backed up their try with another in the 29th minute. This time through Cooper Purcell supporting his ball runner to take an offload from halfway to under the posts for a 28-12 scoreline.
A strong finish to the half from the Eels included tries to Noel Aukafolau (31st minute) and Steve Dresler (36th minute).
By halftime the Eels led 38-12 and relied on their defence in the second half to close the match.
Sapienza was the last try scorer in the 49th minute. He converted his try to accumulate a personal 16-point haul.
They play the third place Cronulla Sharks on Friday from 3:35pm at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Parramatta Eels Jersey Flegg 44 (Tries: Sean Keppie, Haze Dunster, Dylan Brown, Taufa Afu 2, Noel Aukafolau, Steve Dresler, Todd Sapienza; Goals: Todd Sapienza 6/8)
St George Illawarra Dragons 12 (Tries: Jason Gillard, Cooper Purcell; Goals: Tyran Wishart 1/1 Luke Gale 1/1)