It was a case of the clubs sharing the spoils when the Parramatta Eels travelled to Camden to take on the Wests Tigers and The Wests Magpies in Round Three of the junior representative season.
By the end of the day, Parramatta and Wests had each recorded one win and a draw in a weekend which left the Eels Harold Matthews and SG Ball teams sitting in precarious ladder positions.
Tarsha Gale Cup
The Tarsha Gale Cup kicked off proceedings, with the Eels taking on the Wests Tigers.
After an early period of scrappy football, Parra’s first serious attacking raid delivered success. The ball was shifted to the left inside the Tigers quarter, with players in motion creating confusion and space in the defence. Jacinta Tui, took full advantage to touch down out wide.
Sharpshooter, Alysha Bell, nailed the angled conversion for a six nil lead.
Busy dummy half, Ashlee Pottinger, was the next to score when she darted over after the Tigers marker defence fell asleep ten metres out from the line. The trusted boot of Bell ensured that the Eels took a 12 point lead at the mid way point of the first half.
Approaching half time, Tigers fullback Imogen Lowe made an incisive burst out of dummy half to score from close range. The conversion narrowed the margin to six points but it wouldn’t be the last score before the break.
An error by Wests from the kick off gifted the Eels an attacking set within the Tigers quarter, and halfback Rose Beckett crossed with just seconds left on the clock. Once more Bell converted from out wide and the Eels took an 18 to 6 lead to the sheds.
The Eels commenced the second half with early tackle errors and Folau Vaki made them pay the price when she posted a converted try after just two minutes.
Punishing defence was the feature of the next ten minutes, but the Eels skipped out to an eight point lead courtesy of a penalty goal to Bell.
Repeat sets to the Tigers then put them on the attack deep in the Eels half and a looping pass to their winger Amber Johnstone opened a passage for her to get over in the corner. The missed conversion left the Eels with a four point buffer.
After making an error in their own quarter, Wests conceded another penalty and Bell duly converted. A further penalty goal to Bell on the stroke of full time completed the scoring.
At three tries apiece, the value of a gifted kicker was again emphasised with Bell’s six goals from six attempts proving to be critical.
Harold Matthews Cup
Parra commenced their clash with Wests Magpies with multiple errors and incomplete sets, yet were the first to score when Luke Maroun took an intercept inside his quarter then kicked ahead for Michael Gabrael to score a spectacular opening try.
Both sides appeared to be evenly matched in what was a very physical first half. The Magpies appeared determined to make their presence felt but the scoring opportunities were few and far between.
The home side was finally rewarded at the 20 minute mark when dummy half Tallyn Da Silva caught the Eels markers on the ground and scurried ten metres to plant the ball near the posts. The conversion gave the Magpies a two point lead which they held till the half time break.
That aforementioned physicality continued through the early part of the second half, which was characterised by a mixture of errors, strong contact and niggle. At one point the referee issued a warning to both captains to get their teams under control.
Eight minutes into the half, a contentious penalty to the Magpies gave them a repeat set in the Eels quarter. They then shifted the ball from the right wing to the left, and winger Nathaniel Gallagher extended their lead to six with an unconverted try in the corner.
However, Parra were not to be denied, and with eight minutes remaining they set up a grandstand finish. Eels centre, Junior Fagalele, went close to scoring off a powerful surge. From the play the ball, Matt Arthur turned Sam Tuivaiti back in behind the ruck for a converted try close to the posts.
Unfortunately, an Eels handling error soon after was compounded when the match officials deemed that Matt Arthur had picked up the ball in an offside position.
The line ball decision and successful penalty conversion allowed the Magpies to edge ahead by two. They maintained that margin until the final whistle
SG Ball Cup
A bright opening to the match put Parra in the box seat early in their SG Ball clash with the Wests Magpies. Left winger Suliasi Aho crossed in just the fifth minute when he finished a shift that covered the width of the field.
Ethan Sanders’ kick was unsuccessful but this was unquestionably Parra’s best start to a game this season.
The Eels looked to be in complete control when fullback Arthur Miller-Stephen scored off an outside-inside ruck play just a few minutes later. The conversion from Sanders pushed them to a ten nil lead.
The home team eventually struck back after a penalty provided possession inside the Eels quarter. Five-eighth Riley Pascoe ran the ball on the last and beat soft defence on Parra’s right edge to score a converted try.
Parramatta then paid the price for incomplete sets when they conceded a try to Magpies winger Kienan Tempest in the closing moments of the first half. The teams went to the sheds with the scores locked at 10 all.
The deadlock was finally broken midway through the second half when Wests failed to handle a towering Ethan Sanders bomb. Reilly Canning was on the spot to force the ball next to the posts and with a six-point lead the Eels were on track to record their first victory of 2022.
Unfortunately, an incomplete set from the Eels less than ten minutes from full time proved to be very costly. A dropped pass gifted the Magpies territory and possession, and their lock Justin Matumua was on the end of a clever offload to score a crucial try next to the posts.
As the clock ticked down, the Eels were best placed to find the win but missed their only attempted field goal.
Ultimately, the draw was a fitting conclusion for two evenly matched sides.
Eels 24 defeated Wests Tigers 16.
Tries: Jacinta Tui, Ashlee Pottinger, Rosemarie Beckett
Goals: Alysha Bell 6
Magpies 12 defeated Eels 10
Tries: Michael Gabrael, Sam Tuivaiti
Goals: Mohamed Alameddine 1
Eels 16 drew with Magpies 16
Tries: Suliasi Aho, Arthur Miller-Stephen, Reilly Canning
Goals: Ethan Sanders 2
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Arthur Miller-Stephen (SG)
Alysha Bell (TG)
Charlie Guymer (SG)
Petesa Lio (TG)
Richard Penisini (HM)
Blaize Talagi (HM)
Rose Beckett (TG)
Lance Fualema (SG)
Ashlee Pottinger (TG)
Ruby-Jean Kennard (TG)
Tahlesha Maeva (TG)
Tyrese Lokenin (HM)
Kobi Hurford (HM)
Summah Terare (TG)
Markis Atoa (SG)
Katalina Vave (TG)
Reilly Canning (SG)