All three grades of Parramatta Junior Reps remain in finals contention after Round Six action against the Raiders in Canberra.
The Eels Tarsha Gale Cup team got off to a flying start when centre Tahleisha Pugh crossed after just eight minutes of play.
In a tight first half, it was the Raiders to score next with a converted try six minutes before the break, giving them a 6 to 4 lead when the teams went to the sheds.
The home team took advantage of Eels errors midway through the second half, scoring two tries in quick succession to kick out to a 12 point lead.
However, momentum was soon shifting as the Eels superior fitness began to provide them with an advantage in the steamy conditions.
Eels Junior Rep Round Six Highlights
In an exciting conclusion to the match, props Losalio Sita Payne and Ruby-Jean Kennard each added tries in the final five minutes.
With just seconds left on the clock, Summah Terare capped a fine personal performance by kicking the pressure conversion to force the draw.
In the following match, the Eels Harold Matthews Cup team were expected to be far too strong for a Raiders team sitting at the bottom of the table.
But Canberra weren’t reading from that script during the first half. Each time that the Eels looked ready to take control, the Raiders came back with a reply.
First half Eels tries to Myles Martin and Blaize Talagi were matched by the home team, and it was only the conversions of Ethan Sanders which provided a four point advantage at the break.
Parramatta’s completions improved in the second half and that proved to be critical as they strangled the Raiders out of the contest.
Playing off a dominant forward pack, halfback Ethan Sanders took his match tally to 20 points with three tries and two conversions during the second stanza.
Myles Martin and Saxon Pryke were others to shine in the 28 to 8 victory.
Sitting in 6th place, the Eels SG Ball team faced a huge battle in their clash with the undefeated, table-topping Raiders.
But the Eels had prepared superbly for this encounter and declared their intentions with a powerful start to the match.
Tries to Peter Taateo, Sione Tapu’osi and Caleb Coroneos in the first ten minutes took the Eels out to a 16 nil lead. Further tries were added by Keahlan Bray and Drew Lloyd, and though the Raiders crossed for two of their own, Parramatta’s 26 to 12 lead at the break was indicative of their superiority.
The highly physical game was taking its toll on both teams, but the Eels were incredibly resilient during the second half.
Injuries left Parramatta with nobody on the bench and 25 minutes still remaining on the clock. Players were pushed out of their normal positions during this period and when another Eel was forced from the field, the team had to complete the final 7 minutes with only 12 players.
However, on the back of an 82% completion rate, a high result on the kick chase, and sheer will to win, it was the Eels who finished strongly.
Four pointers to Peter Taateo, Josh Tuipulotu, Francis Tuitino and Larry Muagututia completed the Eels nine tries for the day. Muagututia’s try capped a big performance from the prop. A field goal to Josh Chappell then finished the scoring as Parra delivered the Raiders first loss of the season.
In a tight top 6, the Eels remain in sixth place, though only one point behind the ladder-leading Raiders.
Tarsha Gale Cup
Parramatta 16 (Tries: Pugh, Payne, Kennard Goals: Terare 2) drew with Canberra 16
Harold Matthews Cup
Parramatta 28 (Tries: Sanders 3, Martin, Talagi Goals: Sanders 4) defeated Canberra 8
SG Ball Cup
Parramatta 47 (Tries: Taateo 2, Tapu’osi, Coroneos, Bray, Lloyd, Tuipulotu, Tuitino, Muagututia Goals: Chappell 5 Field Goals: Chappell) defeated Canberra 24
Team of the Week
1. Joshua Tuipulotu (SG)
2. Suliasi Aho (HM)
3. Kamoe Fekitoa (SG)
4. Tahleisha Pugh (TG)
5. Sione Tapu'osi (SG)
6. Terrance Lafai (HM)
7. Ethan Sanders (HM)
8. Losalio Payne (TG)
9. Yehya Ayache (HM)
10. Larry Muagututia (SG)
11. Summah Terare (TG)
12. Jock Brazel (SG)
13. Peter Taatao (SG)
14. Blaise Talagi (HM)
15. Taylor Mauala (SG)
16. Jacinta Tui (TG)
17. Josh Alhazim (HM)