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The Eels celebrated their first win at Leichhardt Oval in 21 years to move within striking range of the top two after coming from behind to down Wests Tigers 28-20 on Saturday night.

The Tigers led 12-0 until 10 minutes before halftime but paid the price for ill discipline and went to the break trailing 16-12 after conceding three tries while rookie forward Justin Matamua was in the sin-bin.

The Eels took control in the second half and are now just two points behind North Queensland, Melbourne and Cronulla, who are equal second behind runaway competition leaders Penrith.

It was Parramatta's first win at Leichhardt Oval since 2001.

Say cheese Isaiah

Tigers winger David Nofoaluma scored two late tries to keep his side in the game and equal the record for the most tries by any player from Wests Tigers, Western Suburbs or Balmain.

According to NRL historian David Middleton, Nofoaluma's 95 tries equals Balmain's 1940s winger Arthur Patton.  

The Tigers showed plenty of character to stay in the contest but the loss leaves them in last spot on the Telstra Premiership ladder.     

On a positive note for the Tigers, Matamua and the two rookies who made their debut in Auckland last week - Fonua Pole and Austin Dias - showed that there is good talent with the club's ranks.

Match snapshot

  • The Tigers got off to a bad start when prop Zane Musgrove was placed on report for a shoulder charge on Makahesi Makatoa in the first tackle of the match as the Cook Islands international ran the ball out of his in-goal.
  • The Eels looked set to make the home team pay when second Shaun Lane outleapt Daine Laurie for a Mitchell Moses kick on the last tackle of their opening set but he was ruled to have knocked on before claiming a try.

Lane denied early for the Eels

  • Parramatta centre Will Penisini had a try disallowed in the seventh minute for a forward pass but it appeared only a matter of time before the Eels scored.
  • However, the Tigers were rewarded for their defensive efforts when hooker 'Nu Brown darted out of dummy half to score from close range in the 16th minute. 

Nu Brown burrows home

  • Tigers halfback Jackson Hastings combined with Laurie to extend their lead to 12-0 with a 26th minute try after Parramatta fullback Clint Gutherson fumbled a kick.
  • Hastings kicked behind Gutherson and the Eels skipper was forced to chase back but fumbled the ball and Laurie pounced to dive on it in the in-goal and score.

Laurie locked in

  • Momentum swung Parramatta's way in a remarkable passage of play in which prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard scored after three consecutive kicks and Tigers rookie Justin Matamua was sin-binned for a late tackle on Moses.
  • Backrower Isaiah Papali'i fielded Moses kick and attempted to offload but the ball went to ground before being grubbered by Bailey Simonson and then toed into the in-goal by Campbell-Gillard, who dived on it to score.

RCG opens the scoring for the visitors

  • With an apologetic Matamua sent to the sinbin just five minutes after coming on for his NRL debut, the Eels took advantage to snatch the lead before halftime.
  • Star winger Maika Sivo charged through his opposite Junior Tupou after a long cut out pass from five-eighth Dylan Brown created an overlap to score in the 38th minute but Moses missed the conversion and the Tigers led 12-10.

Sivo the steamroller

  • With just seconds remaining before the break, Brown again unleashed Sivo with the help of centre Waqa Blake and the Fijian star kicked in-field for hooker Reed Mahoney, who dived on the loose ball to score after a Luke Brooks air-swing.
  • After conceding six penalties and a six-again in the opening 40 minutes, the second half began like the first for the Tigers, with a turn-over near halfway, and Moses made them pay when he bumped off three defenders to score.  

Moses parts the D

  • When Papali'i scored in the 68th minute, the game appeared to be all but over but the Tigers refused to give in and back-to-back David Nofoaluma tries narrowed Parramatta's lead to 28-20 with five minutes remaining.

Nofoaluma claws the Wests Tigers back into the game

Play of the game

Reed Mahoney's try on the stroke of halftime gave Parramatta the lead for the first time in the match but the lead up was as spectacular as it was vital to the result, with Dylan Brown, Waqa Blake and Maika Sivo all playing important roles.

Brown and Blake combined to send Sivo racing down the touchline and the Fiji star kicked in-field for the chasing Mahoney, who pounced on the ball to score after Luke Brooks had an air-swing as he attempted to kick.

Mahoney with a late half stunner

Even better was the post-try celebration by the Eels hooker.

Reed's mowing open for business

What they said

"I thought we did a lot of good stuff, we asked a lot of questions and we scored more points today than we have for a number of weeks. When you get a man down in the NRL it is hard to defend. I thought they had easy field position because of our poor discipline. I thought we were tough, we won the arm wrestle for a fair bit of the match, I said to the guys this week at training was the best in my five weeks and I think it showed in the performance. I can't knock their effort, I can't knock how proud I am as their coach for the effort they have put in. It is just that attention to detail," - Tigers interim coach Brett Kimmorley. 

Wests Tigers: Round 17

"It is a tough competition. We have won 10 games and we are still not at our best, so we have put ourselves in a position that if we can find our best each week that is what we are chasing. I think we have spent 80 or 90 weeks in a row in the top eight so we must be reasonably consistent to do that, we have got to try our best every week and teams are showing us plenty of respect at the moment because they are coming after us. We are still miles off where we need to be but we are tracking the right way," - Eels coach Brad Arthur.

Eels: Round 17

What's next 

The Eels host the Warriors at CommBank Stadium on Friday night, while Wests Tigers meet Penrith at the same venue next Sunday afternoon.

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur will be hoping star prop Junior Paulo is available to back up 48 hours after playing for NSW in the Origin decider, while backrower Ryan Matterson is getting closer to a return.

Matterson has been named at lock for the past two Eels matches but was again a late withdrawal for the trip to Leichhardt Oval due to a rib injury.

Tigers interim coach Brett Kimmorley will be hoping to adding some experience to his side with the return of Kiwis winger Ken Maumalo (knee) and prop James Tamou (calf).

Maumalo and Tamou were named for the match against Parramatta but ruled out 24 hours before kick-off.




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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