Eels Jersey Flegg fall late to Sharks
The Parramatta Eels Jersey Flegg side were tied with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the 76th minute and conceded a converted try to lose 32-26 in Round 19 at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Friday 20 July.
Cronulla was pinned deep inside their half, with extra time looking likely, when lock James Roumanos found a line break with his supporting run and passed to Jayden Millard to complete the sprint on an 80-metre try.
It was a good effort to nearly beat the third-placed Sharks as Sione Fonua was lost to injury in the warmup and a couple of controversial refereeing decisions went against the Eels.
Jaydn Field took the fullback responsibilities, Ayden Carling covered Field and Lufusi Vea Tapaatoutai became the dummy-half.
The interim rake scored off his own grubber kick to put the Eels up 4-0 in the 19th minute.
A few minutes later Cronulla's Braydon Trindall threw a long cut-out pass for Jackson Ferris to get over and create a 6-4 lead, on a play where many thought there was an obstruction.
Todd Sapeinza fooled the defence with a show and go to score a solo try in the 25th minute for an 8-6 scoreline.
The match remained tight with back-and-forth scoring, this time another Trindall pass was a try assist to Tomas Harris.
On the halftime siren, a line break that started 60m away from the Sharks' try line was finished off by Vito Tevaga to set a 14-8 halftime lead for the home side.
Sapienza got the second half scoring going with a solo grubber kick and chase try, locking the scores up at 14-all.
Harrison Smith responded in the 53rd minute, showing an elusiveness with the ball to beat two Eels chasers and the fullback, for a 20-14 advantage.
In the 62nd minute, Sean Keppie was sent off and a Smith double from dummy-half moments later gave the Sharks their largest lead of the match at 26-14.
While a man down, the Eels got a try from a grubber to Taufa Afu for a 26-20 score with 11 minutes to go.
Parramatta scored on their set from the kickoff. Stefano Utoikamanu knocked around three defenders on a carry in his own half and offloaded for Afu and Field to combine on the score levelling try, setting up a tense finish.
Winger Tyler Tuigamala made his debut for the Blue & Gold and Mitchell Butfield successfully returned from injury.
The sixth-placed Eels take on the ladder leading Newcastle Knights on Saturday from 1:30pm at the Cessnock Sports Ground.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 32 (Tries: Luke Polselli, Tomas Harris, Vito Tevaga, Harrison Smith 2, Jayden Millard; Goals: Braydon Trindall 4/6)
Parramatta Eels Jersey Flegg 26 (Tries: Lufusi Vea Tapaatoutai, Todd Sapienza 2, Taufa Afu, Jaydn Field; Goals: Todd Sapienza 3/5)