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Round 1 Wrap-Up: Eels open 2023 Junior Reps campaigns

The Parramatta Eels kicked off their 2023 Junior Representative campaigns with a Central Coast road trip to tackle the Roosters on Saturday.

A thrilling SG Ball Cup victory highlighted the opening week of the season in front of a strong Morry Breen Oval crowd in near perfect conditions.

SG Ball: Parry scores four as Eels edge Roosters in thriller

Cody Parry scored four tries on Saturday.
Cody Parry scored four tries on Saturday. ©Andrew Bateup Sports Photography

Four tries by Cody Parry inspired the Eels to a 28-22 win over the Roosters in Round 1 of the 2023 SG Ball Cup.

The winger had a field day on the left wing outside Richard Penisini as the Blue & Gold got off to a winning start in a high-scoring affair against a strong Tricolours team.

After the Eels recorded a strong win over reigning SG Ball champions, the Panthers, in the final trial, fans had high expectations for the side’s Round 1 clash with the Roosters. Those expectations seemed well-founded as the Eels commenced the match in dynamic fashion.

A sharp shift left saw centre Richard Penisini unleash Cody Parry on a charge to the corner, and Joshua Lynn nailed the difficult conversion to put the Eels ahead 6-0 after just three minutes.

Roosters pivot Cassius Tia had spiders on him as he tormented the Eels defence. He transformed from elusive runner to ball player, putting Salesi Foketi into a hole close to the line with a great pass. The conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the Eels with a two point buffer.

Parramatta would be next to score after receiving an offside penalty around the halfway line. From the tap on the right wing, the Eels immediately produced a wide shift to the left. Fullback Te Hurinui Twidle swept onto an Ethan Sanders pass, before he found Penisini running an outside line. In turn he delivered a fine ball to Parry who notched up his second try of the day with an impressive in and away on the Roosters fullback.

Dummy half Matt Arthur extended the lead by darting over from close range after seeing an opportunity to the left of the play the ball. Josh Lynn provided the conversion and the Eels were in command at 16-4 with less than ten minutes until the break.

An ambitious offload following the kick off handed possession back to the Roosters. They immediately forced a line drop out, and in their next set created space for winger Kade Maguire to score in the left corner. A few minutes later Maguire made it a double with another elusive run. Both tries went unconverted but as the half time siren sounded, the Eels lead had been reduced to 16-12.

Parramatta survived an early scare in the second half and responded with a 40/20 from five-eighth Ethan Sanders. After peppering the Roosters line around the ruck, the Eels’ lethal left side attack again came to the fore as Sanders, Twidle, Penisini and Parry combined for the winger’s third try. The wide conversion was missed but the visitors now enjoyed a 20-12 advantage.

Disappointingly, all that good work was undone in the Roosters’ next set when Benaiah Ioelu broke away through a retreating Eels ruck defence to score under the posts. It was now a two point game with the momentum shifting on every change of possession.

That trend continued following a Roosters knock on in receiving the kick off. A scrum was set in front of the posts and Arthur, Sanders, and Twidle combined in a set piece that put right winger Mohamed Alameddine over for his first try.

Mohamed Alameddine touches down.
Mohamed Alameddine touches down. ©Andrew Bateup Sports Photography

If you guessed that the Roosters would be next to score your instincts would be spot on. This time it came on the back of an inspired kick chase. Parramatta were content to watch the ball roll over the dead ball line, but a huge dive and tap back saw Kalem Surya score for the Roosters. At 24-22 to the Eels the game was again in the balance.

The fluctuating fortunes of the match were exemplified as the Eels moved in for the kill, turning twice to Alameddine for tries in the corner. Agonisingly, the final pass was called forward on both occasions, and the Roosters remained in the contest.

But finally, after forcing an error and earning a penalty, the Eels set up another left side raid and a diving Cody Parry scored his fourth try of the afternoon to put Parramatta on the brink of victory.

The SG Ball Eels celebrate.
The SG Ball Eels celebrate. ©Andrew Bateup Sports Photography

Despite another collection of errors over the final eight minutes, and a minor melee, neither team added to their score, and the Eels enjoyed a six-point victory.

Parramatta Eels 28 (Tries: Cody Parry 4, Matthew Arthur, Mohamed Alameddine. Goals: Joshua Lynn 2) defeated Sydney Roosters 22

Harold Matthews: Errors cost Eels in narrow loss

The Eels’ Harold Matthews side were punished for poor completion in a 20-14 defeat to the Roosters.

A physical contest between the Eels and Roosters.
A physical contest between the Eels and Roosters. ©Andrew Bateup Sports Photography

The Harold Matts clash kicked off the day’s proceedings and the Eels were immediately on the attack when their kick off bounced over the dead ball line, forcing the line drop out.

Parramatta’s reward came swiftly when half back Lorenzo Talataina delivered a sublime pass at the line to Jordan Uta and the Eels back rower crashed over for the first try of the day. The conversion was unsuccessful, but with only a couple of minutes on the clock, the Eels had made an impressive start.

In the minutes that followed, Parra’s attack was shredding the Roosters, forcing six again calls and threatening to add more points. Unfortunately for the Blue & Golds, all of that came to nothing when the Roosters took an intercept and galloped 80 metres, but Eels winger Dom Farrugia ran down their centre. But the amazing chase counted for little as the Roosters’ acting dummy half darted over from close range.

The kick was unsuccessful, and after nine minutes and early Eels domination, the scores were level.

Parramatta seemed unphased by this setback and continued to make great inroads in every attacking set. A scrum win in the Roosters half provided the platform for the next scoring play.

Centre Josh Patrick instigated the attack when he carried the ball into the quarter with a determined sprint.  A couple of plays later, hooker Zaidas Muagututia offered a clever reverse pass for Tyson Sangalang and the barnstorming lock was unstoppable as he smashed through the meat of the ruck to put the Eels back in front.

The conversion from Farrugia was successful and the 10-4 scoreline was more reflective of the game at the midway point of the first half.

The Eels maintained their dominance through the remainder of the half but couldn’t add any more points. A couple of minutes before the break, another Roosters intercept five metres out from their line proved to be critical.

Roosters lock Zach Fittler called for the ball with not much on and only seconds left on the clock, but one big right foot step later and there was plenty on as he danced through the defence then carried defenders across the line for a score-levelling, converted try right on the buzzer.

Parramatta began the second half with the same positivity as the first. Quick thinking from Muagututia was instrumental in their next try. After looking to go right at the play the ball, the Eels no. 9 redirected the attack to the left, finding centre Lucius Muliaga and winger Dom Farrugia in a two on two situation.

Muliaga’s grubber kick between the defenders and Farrugia’s chase and grounding finished the play superbly. The kick from out wide was unsuccessful but the Eels had regained the lead.

©Andrew Bateup Sports Photography

Eels errors were still mounting and another in the kick off set was costly. From the resulting scrum, Fittler picked up the ball and ran deep into the line before finding his back rower, Cameron Mackenzie hitting a hole.

Parramatta paid the price for more mistakes when Mackenzie bagged his second try of the day. The conversion provided the Roosters with a six point buffer and increasing confidence.

Neither team added to the scoreboard over the final ten minutes, and errors continued to quash Parramatta’s opportunities to level the scores as they learned a harsh lesson about the importance of completions.

Sydney Roosters 20 defeated Parramatta Eels 14 (Tries: Jordan Uta, Tyson Sangalang, Dominic Farrugia. Goals: Farrugia 1)

Tarsha Gale: Eels ousted by clinical Tricolours

The final match of the day pitted the Eels against the Roosters Indigenous Academy, finishing in a 20-4 loss.

The Roosters have been consistently strong performers over many seasons and from the start this year’s team announced their intention to continue the tradition.

Parramatta kicked off and for the next ten minutes they could not get their hands on the ball. The Roosters were in complete control with decisive runs and brilliant second phase footy. They were rewarded with tries to Paige Lowe and Brooke Talataina in quick succession to establish an early ten point lead.

But the Eels scrambled and fought back into the contest.

Right on half time, magnificent offloads from Alysha Bell and Debbie Doueihi set up centre Caitlin Peadon for a try in the left corner. Though the try went unconverted, at 10-4 it was game on.

However, the Roosters had other ideas and half time simply gave them the time to re-set.

Starting the second half as they did the first, they crossed after just two minutes through Ally Bullman. Another try to Bullman and then one to Montgomery rounded out the scoring as they recorded a convincing 20-point victory.

The Eels tried hard to go with the Roosters in the second half as halves Charlotte Cawthorne and Tallara Bamblett explored both sides of the ruck looking for any Roosters weakness.

Unfortunately for Parramatta, the Roosters’ defence was as effective as their attack and they had the answer to every Eels question.

Parramatta will be looking to make a better start in next week’s Junior Reps triple-header next Saturday.

Roosters Indigenous Academy 22 defeated Parramatta Eels 4 (Tries: Peadon)

All imagery provided by Andrew Bateup Sports Photography.

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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