The Parramatta Eels have bounced back from a disappointing loss last week to dominate the South Sydney Rabbitohs on the way to a 22-12 victory at Stadium Australia.
On the back of a league-leading 81% completion rate, Parramatta asserted their dominance early with tries in the first 10 minutes to Haze Dunster and Michael Oldfield, which saw them quickly jump out to a 10-0 lead.
Souths gradually worked their way back into proceedings and answered back with a try to centre Braidon Burns in the right-hand corner after some deceptive short side play by Jacob Gagai.
Bunnies halfback Dean Hawkins then converted from the sideline to bring the score back to 10-6 in the 22nd minute.
Burns nearly had another try 10 minutes later, as he shrugged off multiple defenders on his way to the try line, but lost control in reaching out to score.
Both sides threatened to put on more points in the remaining minutes before the break, but were unable to trouble the scorers any further, as Parramatta held a 10-6 lead at halftime.
Rabbitohs v Eels NSW Cup Highlights Round 12
South Sydney came out stronger to begin the second 40, with a series of attacks stretching the Eels on both sides of the field.
The pressure eventually told, as prop Joe Lovodua burrowed over for a four pointer to tie things up. A successful Hawkins conversion would then give the Rabbitohs their first lead of the game.
However, a mistake on the very next set from the home side gifted Parramatta prime field position. The Eels were unable to capitalise on that opportunity, but promising centre Will Penisini managed to make amends – as he raced over for a try with 17 minutes remaining and ever-trusty goalkicker Jordan Rankin added the extras to bring his side in front at 16-12.
From there, the blue and golds began to turn the screws, by applying pressure on attack and five eighth Hayze Perham managed to do the same on defense, causing a turnover and winning the race to ball, as the Eels bounced out to a ten-point lead, that would not be dragged in.
Following their third straight loss, South Sydney head back to Redfern next week to take on fellow strugglers St. George-Illawarra, while Parramatta travel to Newcastle to duel with the Knights.
By Gerard Cronin