The Parramatta Eels have recorded consecutive wins defeating Canberra Raiders 26-24 after scoring in the final seconds at Ringrose Park.
Both sides fought for possession early as Parramatta slowly gained the ascendency. The pressure built by Parramatta paid off after 10 minutes, as a slick cut-out ball by experienced half Jordan Rankin landed into the hands of winger Sean Russell who put the Eels on the board.
On a roll, the Eels continued to attack the Canberra line. This time the short passing of Rankin impressed, with Ky Rodwell strolling over close to the line. Rankin’s boot extended Parramatta’s lead to 12 points inside the first 20 minutes.
Needing to score next, the Raiders kicked into gear and troubled the Eels down the left edge. Creating chances, Canberra winger Xavier Savage dove over for their first points of the afternoon.
Savage was almost over again moments later, as he used his pace to burn down the left edge from Canberra’s 30m line until desperate defence eventually bundled him into touch.
Parramatta’s right edge defence was on the ropes. Raiders half Matt Frawley threw a stunning cut-out pass to Savage as he crossed over untouched for his second of the match.
The physical encounter continued to ebb and flow into the dying moments of the first half, as Parramatta headed into the dressing sheds narrowly leading 12-10.
Parramatta jumped out of the gates for the perfect start to the second half. As the wind continued to build, a high-placed bomb was allowed to bounce by Canberra and scooped up by Eels fullback Hayze Perham who darted away to score.
Keeping the contest close, Canberra hit back. A sharp placed grubber kick was dribbled into the in-goal and slammed down by Raiders winger Manase Kaho. The successful sideline conversion from Brad Schneider saw the match level once more at 16-16.
With the momentum flowing for the Green Machine, Canberra kicked into gear. Manase Kaho collected a looping ball to pick up a double and push his side ahead for the first time in the match.
The wind continued to wreak havoc for Canberra who again allowed a Parramatta high ball to bounce, with winger Lalotoa Mata'afa winning the race to the ball in the in-goal. Only conversions separated the two sides as Parramatta led 22-20 with 12 minutes left on the clock.
Still alive, Canberra again wrestled back the lead. The left-hand edge again the target as Savage desperately burrowed his way over the white stripe, scoring his hat-trick in the process. Schneider’s kick was waved away, leaving Canberra with a two-point lead in the final five minutes.
With the last roll of the dice, Parramatta scrambled and through slick passing crossed in the corner with Michael Oldfield planting the ball just inside the field of play.
The try pushed the Eels narrowly over the line, as they defeated Canberra 26-24.
By Mitchell Farrugia