Parramatta have spoiled Benji Marshall's 300th celebrations and put the Wests Tigers' finals aspirations in limbo with a 30-18 victory at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
On a day where Marshall entered the history books, it was Eels playmaker Mitchell Moses who would come back to haunt his former club, setting up two tries and booting seven goals in a controlling performance.
Match: Wests Tigers v Eels
Round 17 -
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
Eels centre Brad Takairangi also had a day out to remember with the Cook Islands international crossing for the first hat-trick of his NRL career in front of 24,125 on "away" turf.
Two tries in as many minutes to Takairangi on the right edge blew the game wide open late in the first half after both sides wrestled with a 4-4 scoreline.
Takairangi's first effort to dive on a Moses grubber in-goal kick started things for the visitors, who kicked two penalty goals either side of an early try to Wests Tigers fullback Corey Thompson.
The 12-point lead at halftime didn't break the spirit of the Tigers, but costly errors and execution proved their downfall with the game on the line.
Marshall was at his side-stepping best early in the contest but had no answers for the side's left-edge defence that struggled to contain right edge pair Takairangi and Blake Ferguson.
Ferguson was ruled to have stayed inside the touchline to keep the ball alive for the Eels as Takairangi grabbed a second try with a 360 pirouette to reach out and score.
The Tigers needed to be first to narrow the lead after the break and were when David Nofoaluma finished off an accurate spread right for the winger to dive over in the corner.
But a blunder from Thompson minutes later, when he was found offside after looking to have scored following a Nofoaluma bust down the right edge, proved a big turning point in the game as the Eels went the length of the field in the ensuing set.
Ferguson, fresh off his Origin III heroics, showed his class to finish off a Moses cross-field kick with the Blues winger stepping inside Robert Jennings to the line.
Marshall sparked to life with the clock winding down to help inspire the joint venture, who trailed by 14 with a quarter of the game to go.
Moses Mbye kept the ball alive with a dubious pass for Jennings to score but goal-kicking killed the home side, with all three tries unconverted.
A third try to Takairangi with nine minutes remaining pushed the lead out to 16, before Nofoaluma crossed for his double in the corner to give the home side an unlikely comeback opening.
The victory to Brad Arthur's side leapfrogs Parramatta into sixth spot in the Telstra Premiership ladder, while the Wests Tigers face an uphill battle to reach the finals after back-to-back losses.