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Junior Reps Round 2 Wrap-Up: A clean sweep in Kellyville

The Parramatta Eels won three from three in a Junior Reps triple-header at Kellyville Park on Saturday.

The Eels' SG Ball, Harold Matthews and Tarsha Gale Cup sides each scored important comeback victories in front of a vocal home crowd amid scorching conditions.

The Harold Matthews team stole the show with a last-ditch win over Balmain, courtesy of Lorima Rokasuka's decisive try in the final seconds of play.

The Eels celebrate their dramatic Harold Matts victory.
The Eels celebrate their dramatic Harold Matts victory.

The SG Ball side made it two wins from two, while the Tarsha Gale Cup girls enjoyed their first victory of the season.

SG Ball: Eels run down Tigers to go back-to-back

The Eels continued their winning start to 2023 with a convincing win over Balmain Tigers in Round 2.

After trailing for most of the first half, Parramatta overpowered Balmain as Cody Parry backed up last week's four-try haul with a brace of four-pointers.

In scalding conditions, Balmain were the first to score as a well-weighted grubber found lock forward Jonathan Ibrahim for a converted try.

An injury blow followed for the Eels as Richard Penisini was assisted from the field and replaced in the backline by interchange dummy half Pat Spence.

The Tigers were playing well, forcing the Eels to scramble in defence to hold them out. It was not until the 29th minute that the Eels produced their best passage of the first half.

Fullback Apa Twidle pinned the Tigers in-goal with a grubber kick and from the drop out, Cody Parry and Sebastian Piukala advanced the ball back to the quarter before the craftiness of hooker Matt Arthur came to the fore.

Arthur challenged the Tigers down a left-edge short side and fed Devonte Vaivela with a superb pass for Parramatta's first try of the day.

The Eels immediately put themselves under pressure by losing possession after the kick-off, but a crucial tackle by Saxon Pryke defused a dangerous Tigers play.

Moments later, Balmain shifted to their left but had a pass deflect into Patrick Spence's hands. The fill-in centre fended away from two defenders before breaking away, skipping clear of an ankle tap and pinning the ears back to sprint for the try line.

Josh Lynn's conversion handed the Eels a 10-6 halftime lead.

Early into the second half, the Eels extended their advantage as Ethan Sanders and Twindle found Parry who juggled the ball before diving over for his first try of the day.

At 14-6, the home team was looking to put their opponents to the sword, and that is exactly what they did. Sam Tuivati set up the scoring play, storming onto the ball and dragging defenders in under the posts. The wily Matt Arthur was awake to the disorganised ruck defence as he dived over to score.

The Tigers looked to regain momentum as one of their forwards charged at Arthur, but the hooker had other ideas as he responded with a front-on tackle to dislodge the ball.

Apa Twidle produced one of the plays of the game, getting away a lightning-quick grubber with the defence all over him. The kick was perfectly weighted for the ever-present Parry to plant it down for his sixth try in two matches.

Balmain reduced the margin to 14 points with a try against the run of play, but the Eels refused to let the visitors have the final say.

Halves Lynn and Sanders combined late on to send Charlie Guymer on a sprint to the line, putting an exclamation point on the victory.

Parramatta Eels 28 (Tries: Parry 2, Vaivela, Arthur, Spence, Guymer. Goals: Lynn 2) defeated Balmain Tigers 10.

Harold Matthews: Eels leave it late in thrilling win

A last-gasp try saw the Eels snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Balmain in the Harold Matthews Cup.

Trailing by two points with ten seconds left to play, Parramatta stole the win when winger Lorima Rokasuka dived over in breathtaking fashion.

The Eels faced the prospect of another self-inflicted defeat as they shot themselves in the foot with errors, but this time clawed their way to a first win of the season.

Parramatta began the clash in positive fashion, defending an early raid and then responding in emphatic fashion. Driving downfield, the Eels swarmed in numbers on an attacking bomb and halfback Lorenzo Talataina scooped it up for the opening try.

Middle forwards Tyson Sangaland and Mikayel Tito left bruises on their opponents in the early stages, but the Eels were unable to convert their dominance into further points.

The Tigers cashed in on Parramatta's misfortune, as centre Malik Amine scored a converted try from a scrum play to give the visitors a 6-4 halftime lead.

The Eels steadied the ship early in the second half, and wasted no time responding to a Tigers turnover, as Lorenzo Talataina hit the accelerator and created space for winger Dom Farrugia to score.

Farrugia backed up with a superb sideline conversion to put the Eels four points up early in the second half.

Powering runs from prop Jordan Uta applied pressure to the Tigers' defence as hooker Zaidas Muagututia orchestrated the attack to start and finish the Eels' next scoring play.

After tormenting defenders with weaving runs and switches of play, Muagututia stepped over from dummy half to slam the ball down and extend the lead to 16-6.

But the Tigers quickly regained the ascendancy, as two converted tries in the space of eight minutes by centre James Safi and hooker Soteila Fatui put the hosts back ahead.

Behind on the scoreboard with only six minutes left, the Eels were in trouble. Balmain continued to push their advantage and Parramatta players were scrambling to keep them out.

Possession and territory finally came the Eels' way with only a couple of minutes left on the clock. After getting the ball in their own quarter, a couple of repeat sets allowed the Eels to set up for a final big play at the other end of the field.

Keeping their nerve, they pushed down their left before executing a big shift to the right. The target was elusive Lorima Rokasuka who justified their faith by diving over in the corner as the clock hit the final seconds, sending the Eels into hysteric celebrations.

Parramatta Eels 20 (Tries: Talataina, Farrugia, Muagututi’a, Rokosuka. Goals: Farrugia 2) defeated Balmain Tigers 18.

Tarsha Gale: Second-half surge secures first win of season

The Eels overpowered the Manly Sea Eagles with a strong second-half performance to win their first match of the 2023 Tarsha Gale Cup season at a sweltering Kellyville Park.

After conceding the first two tries, Parramatta scored three unanswered en route to an eight-point victory to kickstart their campaign.

The Sea Eagles are in their inaugural Tarsha Gale Cup season, but put an early challenge to the Eels. Manly scored the first two tries of the afternoon, first through a rampaging Tafao Asaua and then Shahana Lasini-Rite out of dummy half.

Coach Ryan Walker's halftime speech would work wonders however, as the Eels returned to the second half a different team and took control of the game after the break.

A short kick off by Manly to begin the second stanza was reeled in by the Eels and they immediately got to work.

Melenukuo Akauola Laula powered up the middle with a tone setting charge and Tallara Bamblett seized the momentum from it, knifing down the left edge. Bamblett then delivered a pinpoint pass to Caitlin Peadon who surged past the fullback and into the scorer’s book.

The successful conversion by Alysha Bell narrowed the margin to two points and the Eels were on the march.

Liaina Dimech, Melenukuo Akauola Laula and Kyanna Lokeni were now physically dominating their opponents, punching holes through the defence. Once more, Tallara Bamblett was able to play off the back of this go-forward in setting up Parramatta's next try.

Bamblett again linked with Peadon via a gorgeous cut out pass. The defence scrambled well, but the centre managed to push a pass out to the flying Alysha Bell who touched down in the corner.

The conversion was unsuccessful but with 12 minutes left on the clock, Parramatta led for the first time in the match.

From the kick off, Dimech went on a forty metre rampage that immediately put the Eels on the front foot.

Another Dimech carry into the Manly defence almost got her across the line. Though she didn’t score, it set the scene for Ashlee Pottinger to dive over from dummy half.

Alysha Bell added the extras, providing an eight-point buffer which the Eels clung onto until full-time.

Parramatta will be buoyed by their second half domination leading into next week's trip to Wollongong to face the Steelers.

Eels 16 (Tries: Peadon, Bell, Pottinger. Goals: Bell 2) defeated Sea Eagles 8.

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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