The Parramatta Eels have climbed into second spot on the NSW Cup ladder following a hard fought 22-6 win over a determined Mounties side.
Round 15 proved to be a highly physical clash, played in slippery conditions at Bankwest Stadium.
Both teams came into the game choc full of quality NRL inclusions with the home side featuring the likes of Blake Ferguson and Bryce Cartwright, while the visitors were bolstered by the late inclusion of Corey Allan to compliment the classy halves pairing of Lachlan Lewis and Kyle Flanagan.
Having absorbed plenty of early pressure from the Eels, Mounties could have easily opened the scoring midway through the first half, only for the referee to prematurely blow the whistle whilst on the attack deep inside Parramatta’s 20.
But that early pressure applied by the home team eventually proved telling as the Eels eventually broke the deadlock with a converted try to backrower Elie El-Zakhem in the 26th minute, after Mounties spilled a cross-field bomb from half Jakob Arthur.
One would have thought that the Eels may have taken the game by the scruff of the neck, but a loose carry by El-Zakhem saw Mounties centre Reuben Rennie race away downfield.
The visitors then converted a rare attacking opportunity into points when a Lachlan Lewis short pass at the line put back-rower Jackson Topine over. With the successful conversion from Kyle Flanagan, scores were locked at 6-all after 32 minutes.
Just as it seemed the score would remain level heading into the break, Parramatta regained the lead with the last play of the half, with a barnstorming try from close range to interchange forward Wiremu Greig, giving the Eels a 12-6 lead.
The opening 25 minutes of the second half was a carbon copy of the first with the home side enjoying much of the possession and territorial advantage, but without the points to go with it. due to another solid defensive effort from Mounties.
However, the Eels finally established the biggest lead of the game, soon after Mounties winger Watson Helata was placed on report. From the ensuing penalty, a quick shift left enabled Parramatta centre Will Penisini to put Solomone Naiduki into some space and he did the rest to score out wide.
The successful conversion from near touch by Jordan Rankin, gave the Eels a commanding 18-6 lead with 12 minutes remaining.
Parramatta finally put the game beyond doubt when winger Blake Ferguson went over after latching onto a loose ball 10m out from his own line, enabling the home side to lead 22-6 after 74 minutes.
By Stewart Moses