Eels Jersey Flegg rally late but fall short of running down Raiders

The Parramatta Eels Jersey Flegg side have suffered a tough 28-16 defeat to the eighth placed Raiders at Ringrose Park on Sunday 30 June in Round 16 of the competition.

Heading into the clash looking to rebound from a defeat to the Thunderbolts last week, the young Blue & Gold found themselves in a tough battle in the middle of the field early as the two young forward packs went head to head looking to gain ascendency.

It was the opposition that made the most of the early exchanges when they put the first points on the board in the 14th minute through hooker Kyle Paterson.

A break down their left edge found centre Semi Valemei racing away down field before offloading to the hooker in support to finish off a 50m try to the left of the posts.

The first try sparked the opposition, and after an error from the Eels who looked to spread the ball from deep inside their own end, the Raiders barged over through Valemei in the 19th minute for a 12 point lead.

The Eels were quick to strike back, making the most of an error from the Raiders off the kick off, with lock forward Jesse Cronin carrying and spinning his way through four defenders to score in the 22nd minute of the clash.

A well constructed try in the 30th minute of the clash to Raiders second rower Kai O’Donnell, who powered his way over the line after a short ball from half Tobias Westcott had the Raiders extending their lead to 18-6 at half time.

The second half started in a similar fashion to the first half, and despite the Raiders kicking a penalty goal in the 46th minute,i t was the Eels who were dominating the middle of the field and began to reap the rewards for their efforts.

A try to fullback John Fonua in the 51st minute brought the Eels back into the game, as he sliced his way through some gaping Raiders defence off a short ball from half Bailey Biondi-Odo.

A long range try to William Kei in the 57th minute brought the Eels to within four points, with the centre supporting his winger who bust through his opposite number after taking a Raiders kick.

With the Eels roaring home, and looking likely to run over the Raiders in the final stages of the clash a big defensive set from the Eels had the opposition pinned inside their own end. However a failed charged down proved a crucial turning point as it saw the Raiders re-gain possession and halt the young Blue & Gold momentum.

Back to back defensive sets saw the Eels middle tiring and when Raiders hooker Paterson darted out from dummy half and sliced the Eels open to score his second of the afternoon, the Raiders had extended their lead to beyond a converted try in the 62nd minute.

The Eels were desperate to spread the ball from inside their own end in a search for points, but an error resulted in the Raiders camping down inside their twenty before lock Tom Robertson crashed over in the 68th minute to secure a 28-16 victory to the away side.

Parramatta Eels Jersey Flegg 16 (Tries: Jesse Cronin, John Fonua, William Kei; Conversions: Kyle Schneider (2))

Def by

Canberra Raiders 28 (Tries: Kyle Paterson (2), Semi Valemei, Kai O’Donnell, Tom Robertson; Conversions: Tobias Westcott (3), Penalty Goals: Tobias Westcott (1))

The Eels Jersey Flegg have the bye this weekend before taking on the 6th placed Rabbitohs on Saturday 20 July in Round 18 of their competition. The Eels Jersey Flegg currently sit eleventh with seven games of the regular season remaining.