The Parramatta Eels have suffered a 22-26 defeat to the Victoria Thunderbolts on Saturday 22 June at McCredie Park, Guildford in Round 15 of the Jersey Flegg competition.
After a thrilling 32-24 come from behind victory over the NZ Warriors last week, the Eels entered with plenty of confidence for the crucial clash, but it was a late second half surge from the Thunderbolts, and a lack of completions from the Eels, that saw a Blue & Gold victory go slipping.
The away side were first to put points on the board, when a fortuitous knock on from a cross field kick found back rower Mali Lepou scooping up the loose ball to cross over out wide for a converted try.
Thunderbolts hooker Trent Toelau finished off a long range try in the ninth minute, when he loomed in support following a break through the middle from prop Jordin Leiu to score to the left of the post and give the Thunderbolts a 12-0 lead.
The Eels struck back with their first points of the game in the 14th minute when back rower Arron Shelford hit a hole from a Sione Fonua pass to crash over for a four pointer.
When Jesse Cronin crashed and spun his way over to the right of the posts in the 26th minute, followed by a try out wide to Solomone Naiduki who was on the end of a Bailey Biondi-Odo grubber in the 32nd minute, the Eels found themselves ahead on the scoreboard for the first time in the clash.
The Eels taking a 16-12 lead into the sheds at half time.
The Thunderbolts raced out of the blocks in the second half, re-claiming their lead when Toelau found Leiu with a nice long ball from dummy half to crash over the line in the 41st minute.
The hooker burrowed his way over for his second try of the afternoon in the 55th minute of the clash, before lock forward Matt Stimson collected a bouncing grubber to score under the posts in the 62nd minute and extend their lead to 26-16.
The lack of completions in the second half hurt the Blue & Gold, with opportunities to put points on the board going begging and all the built up pressure on the opposition being released with errors.
Dropped balls down the Thunderbolts end of the field meant the Eels didn’t trouble the scorers in the second half until the 66th minute when half Joseph Taipari sliced his way over to the right of the posts.
Despite their best efforts on the final set of the game, the Thunderbolts held on for a 26-22 victory over the Eels.
Parramatta Eels Jersey Flegg 22 (Tries: Arron Shelford, Jesse Cronin, Solomone Naiduki, Joseph Taipari; Goals: Kyle Schneider (2), Bailey Biondi-Odo (1))
Victoria Thunderbolts Jersey Flegg 26 (Tries: Trent Toelau (2), Mali Lepou, Jordin Leiu, Matt Stimson; Goals: Matt Stimson (2), Trent Toelau (1))
The eleventh Eels Jersey Flegg side will face the eighth placed Raiders at Ringrose Park on Sunday 30 June in Round 16 of the competition.