The Parramatta Eels began their 2020 season with a promising win over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, with the home side dominating the first half before coming up with key defensive and attacking plays to secure their first two points of the campaign.
It was the Eels who drew first blood after just 6 minutes, through a nicely worked set piece from the scrum, finishing with winger Haze Dunster touching down in the corner. His side were able to double their lead 15 minutes later, through fellow winger George Jennings, who capped off a brilliant spread to notch his first try of the season in the opposite corner.
Penalties and errors haunted the away side, as the Eels continued their onslaught with Jai Field slicing through the middle of Canterbury’s defence to score next to the posts. The first successful conversion of the game took the Eels to a 14-point lead after half an hour of play.
Parramatta would not slow down, with prop Daniel Alvaro barging over the line to score under the posts before Rhys Davies converted again to take the home side into the sheds with a 20-0 lead.
The second half began in contradicting fashion to the first, with the Bulldogs scoring their first points of the match, through a pin-point pass from five-eighth Jake Averillo to his centre Morgan Harper, before the young number 6 converted to lessen the margin to fourteen.
The Eels were able to answer back with a try of their own through George Jennings’ second of the game, set up by a perfectly lobbed pass from halfback Eli Levido. However another missed conversion kept the deficit at three converted tries.
The Dogs were looking better toward the backend of the game, with Tui Katoa forcing an error from Eels fullback Will Smith, before setting his five-eighth Jake Averillo up for a try in the corner. Averillo was unsuccessful in his attempt to decrease the margin to two converted tries, keeping his side fourteen points behind yet again.
It was Katoa again stealing the spotlight, finishing off a smooth backline spread with a good show of strength to get over near the sideline. Jake Averillo was able to convert, but it would prove too little too late for the Dogs, as the Parramatta Eels triumphed over Canterbury with a 24-16 victory.
The Eels will face the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday 22 March in Round Two of the Canterbury Cup, kick off at 1:05pm.