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Junior Reps Round 3 Wrap-Up: Eels unbeatable in Wollongong

The Eels’ Junior Reps sides enjoyed an unbeaten afternoon of football for a second-straight week, this time in Wollongong against the Illawarra Steelers.

The SG Ball and Harold Matthews teams both enjoyed comfortable wins, but it was the Eels’ dramatic draw in the Tarsha Gale Cup which proved the highlight of the day.

Tarsha Gale Cup: Spectacular sideline conversion steals a thrilling draw

Alysha Bell came up clutch for Parramatta against Illawarra.
Alysha Bell came up clutch for Parramatta against Illawarra.

Alysha Bell was Parramatta’s hero as her sideline conversion after the full-time siren earned a 10-10 draw against the Illawarra Steelers.

Trailing 10-4 with no time left on the clock, the Eels scored a try at the death through Siulolovao Vave before Bell snatched a point for Parramatta with an outrageous goal from out wide.

Bell and Vave were both part of late changes to the Eels line-up following the loss of key playmaker Tallara Bamblett but made game-changing impact in their new roles.

Both side’s forward packs ripped in during the opening exchanges, but the Steelers had the better of the early territorial battle. The hosts went ahead after 20 minutes when their centre crossed for the first try of the game.

The remainder of the half did not trouble the scoreboard, as neither defence wilted despite entertaining, second-phase football in warm conditions.

For the second week in a row, the Eels emerged from the half time break with reinvigorated purpose. An energetic kick chase after their opening set forced a Steelers error and provided Parramatta with their best attacking opportunity of the game.

From the ten metre scrum, the Eels worked a backline play to the right. Lindsay Tui linked with Hayley Bell who charged into the defence before offloading back to Tui. The Eels centre then sprinted to her right, touching down out wide to draw the Eels level after just two minutes of the second half. 

The game then opened up with faster ruck speed and both defences scrambling to shut down partial line breaks.

A Parramatta error invited the Steelers back into the red zone and their halfback promptly scored between the posts. A six-point lead in a low-scoring game gave them genuine cause for celebration. 

The Eels refused to go into their shells, and created a number of chances to draw level. Unfortunately, incomplete sets weren’t helping their endeavours, and Illawarra were growing in confidence.

With time for just one set, the Eels had a scrum feed on their own ten-metre line.

After three tackles the Eels reached the halfway line. A shift right through Alysha Bell and Lindsay Tui unleashed Hayley Bell down the sideline and towards the quarter.

From the final play the ball of the game, Alysha Bell hoisted the kick into the in-goal where it took a sharp turn towards the left corner. As the siren sounded, Siulolovao Vave beat the defenders in a desperate race to ground the ball.

But the drama was not over. For the much needed draw, Alysha Bell needed to convert from the sideline in breezy conditions. 

With all eyes on her, the Eels sharpshooter held her nerve and drilled the ball between the posts, triggering pandemonium in the Eels camp. 

Parramatta Eels 10 (Tries: Tui, Vave. Goals: Bell 1) drew with Steelers 10.

Harold Matthews Cup: Eels go back-to-back in physical encounter

The Eels’ pursuit of winning the collision provided the platform for their second win of the season, a 22-10 triumph over the Steelers.

In a seesawing affair, the result hung in the balance until two tries in the final ten minutes nudged Parramatta over the line and made it back-to-back wins for the Blue & Gold.

Hooker Zaidus Muagututia was instrumental for the Eels, posting a try and two assists.

Despite dominating possession, the Eels struggled with set completion, particularly early on, and it took a Steelers charge down gone wrong to break the deadlock.

Lachie Coinakis swooped onto the ball and found Lorenzo Talataina in support before Zaidus Muagututia backed up to score under the posts. 

After finally cracking the Steelers defence, Parramatta disappointingly conceded a far-too-easy response, as a crash ball to the right of the ruck was all that Illawarra needed to level the scores. 

But this Eels team loves to compete. On the stroke of half time, Lorenzo Talataina’s kick into the red zone found the turf and Eels winger Lorima Rokosuka pounced on it, racing ten metres for a try in the corner. Dom Farrugia put the icing on the cake by landing the sideline conversion.

Much like the first half, Parramatta in the second stanza continued to win the physical battle but poor completions hindered their attack. 

A 95-metre try to the Steelers after the Eels dropped the ball deep in attack then reduced the margin to two points as the hosts grew in confidence.

The resurgent Illawarra team hammered the Eels line and only desperate Eels defence held them out. A couple of held-up calls added to the tension, but Parramatta stood strong and forced a much needed error.

The Eels’ middle forwards began to win back control, and with about ten minutes to go overpowered their opponents in what would be a crucial set. 

Zaidas Muagututia went all-in with a dummy half pass to Dom Farrugia, and though he looked well marked, the winger pushed through the defenders and planted the ball down in the corner, putting the lead back out to 6 points.

In the closing stages, Parramatta’s second-phase football tore the home side to shreds. The Eels earned a line drop out and Muagututia was hungry for more try assists.

When the play hit the quarter, the crafty no. 9 shot out from dummy half and found Corey Leigh in support for a terrific try under the posts. 

Farrugia’s conversion put the match in the Eels’ keeping, making it two wins from three starts for the season.

Eels 22 (Tries: Muagututia, Rokosuka, Farrugia, Leigh. Goals: Farrugia 3) defeated Steelers 10.

SG Ball Cup: Eels continue win streak in Wollongong try-fest

Cody Parry continued his try-scoring ways against the Steelers.
Cody Parry continued his try-scoring ways against the Steelers.

An eleven-try affair between the Eels and Steelers ended in a 36-20 win by the Blue & Gold in Wollongong.

By winning the entertaining contest, the Eels now have three wins from three games to kick off the year, while Cody Parry's double takes him to eight tries for the season already.

A powerful tackle by Matt Arthur and Sam Tuivaiti in the opening set of the match forced an error deep in Illawarra’s half.

From the scrum, the ball shifted left through Arthur, Ethan Sanders and Apa Twidle to the try-scoring machine, Parry. The big winger had his eyes on the prize and carried two defenders over the line for the opener.

Just five minutes later the same combination engineered Parry’s second try of the day, gifting him an unmarked five metre stroll to the line. Sanders’ conversion provided the Eels with a ten point lead inside the first 10 minutes. 

The Eels began to blow the hosts off the park as the Steelers imploded by sending three kick offs sailing over the dead-ball line.

Finding touch from the first penalty, Parramatta spread the ball from the tap on the left wing all the way towards the right wing. Centre Tuvaka Palu broke clear of the defenders, passing to Mohammad Alameddine who improved the position before touching down. 

Next, a Matt Arthur cut-out pass found Charlie Guymer who crashed over between the sticks. That made it four tries inside the first 15 minutes, and Sanders’ conversion kicked the lead out to 22 points.

However, back-to-back penalties to the home team stemmed the flow of Parramatta’s points and set Illawarra for a try of their own.

The remainder of the first half remained scoreless, although the next 40 minutes provided more tries.

Parramatta added to their score first as powerful prop Lance Fualema took a hit up off Arthur and carried defenders across the line and between the posts. 

The Steelers soon replied with an unconverted try down Parra’s right edge before Matt Arthur instigated the Eels’ sixth try with a superb 40/20.

In the resulting set, Arthur faked to send the ball right, before going left to Ethan Sanders who found Dom De Stradis running a great line. The workaholic forward crashed over for a fine try which could have broken the spirit of the Steelers.

To their credit, Illawarra stayed in the contest, eventually scoring three unconverted tries in the left corner. A couple of big defensive plays from Twidle went a long way towards preventing the fourth Steelers try during this fight back.

Parramatta had the final say in the match when they opted for Sanders to take the goal from a late penalty in front of the posts.

The six tries to five victory continues the Eels’ one hundred percent record three rounds into the season.

Eels 36 (Tries: Parry 2, Alameddine, Guymer, Fualema, De Stradis. Goals: Sanders 6) defeated Steelers 20.


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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