The Parramatta Eels Jersey Flegg side have gone down to the south Sydney Rabbitohs at Metricon High Performance Centre at Redfern Oval in Round 18 of their competition, suffering a 36-32 defeat on Saturday afternoon.
After a two week break of the competition, the young Blue & Gold side would have been looking to notch up a crucial two points over the Rabbitohs as they entered this clash in 11th position on the ladder and seven weeks of the regular season remaining.
However the second placed Rabbitohs found themselves dominating the contest early and they raced out to an 18 point lead after just 22 minutes.
Rabbitohs hooker Josh Cook, who returned to the Jersey Flegg side with the Canterbury Cup side not in action on the weekend, barged over from dummy half close to the line for the first try of the afternoon, before he set up fellow NRL Squad member Ky Rodwell in the 13th minute.
Rabbitohs half Blake Taaffe crossed for the third try, running 50m to the posts after forward Joshua Fepuleai put him through a hole for a converted try.
Despite trailing on the scoreboard, the Eels fired back with their own three tries in quick succession, two coming from half Bailey Biondi-Odo.
Biondi-Odo’s first try saw the half dummy and slice his way through the Rabbitohs right edge defence before running the final 30m to score out wide.
A short ball from the half saw Jesse Cronin bust through the middle of the Rabbitohs defence from deep within the Eels half, with the lock finding Sione Fonua in support who raced 50m to score under the posts in the next set.
The half had his second try in quick succession when he received the ball close to the line before stepping and diving over for a try as the Eels headed to the half time sheds trailing 16-18.
The half time break seemed to halt the Eels momentum, with crucial errors to kick off the second half seeing the Rabbitohs extend their lead.
A break down the edge saw centre Nick Mougios set up Peter Mamouzelos in support for a try under the posts, before the try scorer sparked the next try to fullback James Tautaiolefua giving the home side a 30-16 lead early in the second half.
The Eels hit back in the 49th minute with a try to winger JT Nabatelevu, who claimed the ball from a cross field to plant the ball in the corner for an unconverted try with twenty minutes remaining on the clock.
Biondi-Odo put fullback Sione Fonua through a hole to score his second try of the afternoon and cut the Rabbitohs lead to just four, 30-26.
Momentum continued to swing throughout the match and the home side earnt themselves some breathing space when Rodwell scored his second of the afternoon with ten minutes remaining, crashing over next to the posts.
A big defensive effort form Rabbitohs fullback Tautaiolefua stopped winger Solomone Naiduki scoring a try in the corner which would of set up a grand stand finish.
Tempers looked to flare out of control late in the clash, forcing Rabbitohs Aidan Manowski and Eels Bailey Biondi-Odo to be sin binned, as well as Josh Cook being sent off as the two sides came together.
The Eels capitalised with an extra player on the field, scoring a late consolation try through Joseph Taipari who claimed a grubber to score under the posts, but it was too late with the home side outlasting the Eels to claim a 36-32 victory, six tries a piece.
South Sydney Rabbitohs Jersey Flegg 36 (Ky Rodwell 2, Josh Cook, Blake Taaffe, Peter Mamouzelos, James Tautaiolefua tries; Blake Taaffe 6 goals)
Parramatta Eels Jersey Flegg 32 (Bailey Biondi-Odo 2, Sione Fonua 2, Turaganivalu Nebetelevu, Joseph Taipari tries; Bailey Biondi-Odo 3, Joseph Taipari goals)