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Opacic and Rein run riot in Eels romp

By Andrew McEnallay

There was plenty of star power in the opening game of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup with representative players Tariq Sims, Nathan Brown and George Burgess all on deck for their respective clubs.

The Eels found themselves in attacking field position through some strong ball running from Ky Rodwell and Brown. Soon after, they were able to capitalise through centre Tom Opacic, who scored the first try of the 2022 season after some slick backline play. Jordan Rankin converted to put the Eels up 6-0.

Opacic combined with Hayze Perham yet again and crashed over for his second try and from there, it was all Parramatta as they went into the sheds 12-0 up at halftime

Tries to Opacic and Mitch Rein, who was arguably the best on ground, put the Eels up 22-0 until Ethan Clark-Wood hit back for the Dragons with a great solo effort.

Elie El-Zakhem crashed over and Opacic finished the game with another try to take his tally to four to help the Eels to a comprehensive 34-6 win.

Talking points

Perham, Rein and Rodwell were all exceptional in the Eels' first hit-out of 2022 although four-try hero Opacic will no doubt be putting plenty of pressure on first-grade centre pairing Will Penisini and Waqa Blake in the coming weeks.

Key moment

With the Eels up 6-0, Rein kicked early in the tackle count putting the ball perfectly in the Dragons in-goal. A great kick-chase saw the Eels force a repeat set as they started to build some pressure.

Soon after, Opacic scored his second try off an almost identical play when he linked up with Perham on a sweeping backline play. After Rankin converted, the Eels led 12-0.

What's next?

It’s an uphill battle for the Dragons as they face off against competition heavyweights Penrith Panthers in Round Two while the Eels will play Newtown Jets on Saturday afternoon.

Perham, Rein and Rodwell were all exceptional in the Eels' first hit-out of 2022 although four-try hero Opacic will no doubt be putting plenty of pressure on first-grade centre pairing Will Penisini and Waqa Blake in the coming weeks.

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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