Round 8 provided a day of mixed fortunes when the Eels returned to New Era Stadium for three grades of Junior Representative football.
The action kicked off in the Harold Matthews Cup, with the third placed Eels taking on the fourth placed Roosters. In a congested top half of the table, this would be a critical encounter.
A tense first quarter of the game saw the Roosters hold a territorial advantage and they were the first to score via their right winger.
The visitors continued to apply pressure but it was the Eels to score next. After a couple of strong Charlie Guymer carries, dummy half Yehya Ayache found a charging Saxon Pryke who crossed close to the posts.
From there, the Eels looked to be gaining the ascendancy, but a timely intercept from the Roosters half sent him on a 70 metre sprint to the line, and his team to a 10 to 6 lead.
On the stroke of half time, Guymer put the Eels back in front when he charged 15 metres through the Rooster defence to plant the ball down close to the posts.
After the break, the Eels forwards continued to lay a strong platform, and the reward was a second try to Saxon Pryke. The conversion took the Eels to an eight point lead and some breathing space.
However, Roosters half Cassius Tia was proving a constant menace. In a memorable moment he produced a wildly exaggerated dummy that completely fooled the Eels defence, and the try brought the margin back to two points. Game on!
In the final ten minutes, the Eels forwards responded once more. This time it was prop Aufag Mino who produced a barnstorming run behind the ruck for an unconverted try.
Blaize Talagi completed the scoring when he swooped on a deflected midfield bomb to race away for the match-winning try.
The Eels now sit second on the table, with two rounds remaining.
It was another top six encounter when the Roosters and the Eels squared off in the SG Ball. Once again it was the visitors who scored first on the back of consecutive penalties.
The Eels reply came midway through the half when the left edge players combined brilliantly for Freeman Forsythe to score out wide.
Parramatta’s attack continued to apply pressure but the finishing was proving difficult against a resolute Roosters defence. Ultimately, it was five-eighth Josh Chappell who was able to convert the territorial advantage with a solo try five minutes before the break.
Unfortunately for the Eels, the Roosters capitalised on a missed tackle near halfway and the converted try gave them a two point lead just before the break.
Soon after the resumption, an intercept on their own line took the Roosters deep into the Eels half, and a couple of tackles later they extended their margin to six points with an unconverted try.
Errors were proving costly for the Eels and a lapse in concentration provided the Tri-colours with a hand-over near halfway, and the visitors took full advantage with a try in the ensuing set.
Freeman Forsythe’s second try, this time off a Josh Tuipulotu pass, narrowed the gap to six points, but the Roosters replied again with two tries to stretch their margin to 16.
In the final ten minutes, the Fekitoa cousins traded tries, firstly with Kamoe Fekitoa grounding a Keahlan Bray grubber kick for Parra, before Kyron concluded the Roosters scoring with a touch down of his own.
The loss leaves the Eels hanging on to 6th place, just three differential points ahead of the 7th placed Steelers.
In the final match of the day, the Roosters Indigenous Academy proved far too strong for the Eels in the Tarsha Gale fixture.
The Eels applied the early pressure but it was the Roosters who crossed first. After receiving a penalty, the Tri-colours marched downfield, launching the first of many successful attacking raids.
In contrast, the Eels were struggling to find any energy or rhythm in attack and were gifting the Roosters far too much possession.
Three more first half tries left the Roosters leading 20 to nil at the break and the Eels with plenty to do to get back into the contest.
Unfortunately for Parra, the Academy girls picked up where they left off after half time and the second stanza became a showcase for their attacking prowess as they added a further six unanswered tries.
The final score of 50 to nil effectively ends Parramatta’s chances of qualifying for finals football as the Tarsha Gale Cup top 6 has been confirmed with two rounds remaining.
Harold Matthews Cup
Parramatta 28 (Tries: Saxon Pryke 2, Charlie Guymer, Aufag Mino, Blaize Talagi Goals: Ethan Sanders 3, Suliasi Aho 1) defeated Roosters 16
SG Ball Cup
Roosters 36 defeated Parramatta 22 (Tries: Freeman Forsythe 2, Josh Chappell, Kamoe Fekitoa Goals: Keahlan Bray 3)
Tarsha Gale Cup
Roosters Indigenous Academy 50 defeated Eels 0
Team of the Week
1. Joshua Tuipulotu (SG)
2. Suliasi Aho (HM)
3. Charlie Guymer (HM)
4. Declan Murray (HM)
5. Freeman Forsythe (SG)
6. Terrance Lafia (HM)
7. Ethan Sanders (HM)
8. Aufago Mino (HM)
9. Yehya Ayache (HM)
10. Larry Muagututia (SG)
11. Jock Brazel (SG)
12. Saon Pryke (HM)
13. Myles Martin (HM)
14. Blaise Talagi (HM)
15. Josh Alhazim (HM)
16. Francis Faaofo Tuitino (SG)
17. Jacob John (HM)