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Junior Reps Round 4 Wrap-Up: Eels seal another clean sweep

The Eels went unbeaten across all three Junior Reps grades for a third week running, in another successful day at Kellyville Park over the weekend.

The SG Ball, Harold Matthews and Tarsha Gale Cup sides each demonstrated great tenacity and fitness levels to win in warm conditions, consolidating their respective ladder positions.

SG Ball: Twidle treble headlines fourth-straight win

A show-stealing hat trick by Apa Twidle set the stage for the Eels’ unbeaten run to continue with a 44-12 win over the North Sydney Bears.

The fullback’s performance was the main attraction as the Blue & Gold made it four wins from four to begin the SG Ball season.

The Eels looked well on track to maintain their place near the top of the ladder when Matt Arthur scored the first of his two tries.

Playing eyes up football, the clever Eels rake noted that the defence had set themselves for a crash ball and took the opportunity to instead feign the pass and dive over beside the ruck.

Parramatta exemplified their class with their next try. After receiving a bullet of a pass from Arthur, Josh Lynn dug into the line with Twidle lurking in his shadow. The fullback timed his run perfectly using positional deception to open a channel as he received Lynn’s pass, before stepping past his opposite to score.

To the Bears’ credit, they refused to surrender and added two converted tries of their own in the last four minutes of the first half to draw level at the break.

This would prove to be the Bears’ last hurrah as the Eels scored six unanswered second half tries in what was their most devastating attacking football of the season.

The first of those tries came when Twidle capitalised on fine inside work from Arthur and Sanders to slice through the Bears right edge for his second of the day.

Not to be outdone, Matt Arthur grabbed his second try soon after when he again outsmarted Norths’ ruck defence. Sanders’ conversion extended the Eels lead to 12 and the home team was hungry for more.

The next try belonged solely to Ethan Sanders who scythed through the Bears’ line with a combination of power and pace, then added the extras to put the match well out of the visitors’ reach.

Parramatta’s pack was running rampant in both attack and defence. Saxon Pryke capped off a fine kick-off set by the forwards, hitting a hole off an Arthur pass to score the Eels’ sixth try of the day. 

Twidle’s hat-trick try, an absolute stunner, soon followed. Receiving a terrific offload from Sebastian Piukala, Twidle knifed through the Bears’ right edge, then sold a nursery load of dummies on his way to touching down in the left corner.

Cody Parry then capped off a terrific afternoon for the Eels in the final minute of play with his ninth try of the season.

A rumbling 40 metre run down the right edge from Lebron Tuala set the platform for Parramatta to eventually hit the left. Star man Twidle then threw the final pass for Parry to cross just before the final buzzer.

Eels 44 (Tries: Twidle 3, Arthur 2, Sanders, Pryke, Parry. Goals: Sanders 6) defeated Bears 12.

Harold Matthews Cup: Talataina shines in dominant victory

Lorenzo Talataina starred for the Eels in their third consecutive win in the Harold Matthews Cup, a 36-12 triumph over the Dragons.

The halfback had a hand in five of six tries as the Eels rode a second-half surge to victory.

St George dominated the first half, and scored the opening try after just two minutes following an error.

The Eels responded when Lorenzo Talataina pounced opportunistically on a grubber by Zaidas Muagututia and the conversion from Dom Farrugia put the hosts in the lead.

But two unconverted tries saw the Dragons regain the ascendancy.

With two minutes left in the first half, Talataina turned from try scorer to try assister with a cheeky little grubber kick that popped up in-between defenders. Jack Nicholas pushed through to claim the ball, but it required a stretch of epic proportions for him to extend his arm over the line to execute the grounding.

Somehow, someway, the Eels went to the sheds with the scores level. And much like the SG Ball match, the second half would belong to the Eels.

Five minutes after the break, positive play from Lachlan Vella, Jack Nicholas and Corey Leigh advanced the ball down field, earning a penalty and a Dragons sin bin in the process.

Talataina took full advantage in the next set, rifling a cut-out pass to Lorima Rokosuka who hared his way to the goal line. A brilliant sideline conversion from Farrugia put the Eels out to a converted try lead.

Once more, Talataina featured in the following try with a tricky grubber to the Dragons in-goal. Though the kick looked a tad heavy off the boot, the Eels chasers didn’t give up on their assignment. Leigh tapped the ball back and Rokosuka managed to ground it just inside the touch-in-goal line. 

A scrum win on the Dragons ten metre line provided Talataina with his next opportunity to shine. Scampering to his right, the pace of the Eels half put the defenders under pressure, before his pass found a straightening Alma Seve who crossed near untouched. 

The Eels had to score their final try without the assistance of Talataina who had to be replaced following a late, high tackle. 

Tyson Sangalang would not be denied as charged off a Lachie Coinakis pass to plant the ball under the posts. Dom Farrugia’s conversion completed the scoring for the day as the Eels recorded a convincing victory.

Eels 36 (Tries: Rokosuka 2, Talataina, Nicholas, Seve, Sangalang. Goals: Farrugia 6) defeated Dragons 12.

Tarsha Gale Cup: Eels extend unbeaten streak with gritty defence

The last three rounds have stamped the Eels as a gritty defensive unit, and their most recent Tarsha Gale Cup win was no different.

True to the mantra, “attack wins you games, defence wins you titles”, the Eels grinded their way to a 16-6 victory over North Sydney. Now unbeaten in three matches, the Blue & Gold are on course to playing finals football in 2023.

Winger-turned-fullback Alysha Bell had another afternoon to remember on the back of last week's heroics, making a crucial try-saving tackle, assisting a try and kicking two goals.

After some early physical statements from the Bears, the Eels were first on the board with a try to Kalisi Mahi. 

Showcasing her power, speed and footwork, front rower Liaina Dimech advanced the ball deep into Norths half before Debbie Doueihi and Leila Black combined to put the Bears goal line under pressure. The intent of Kalisi Mahe’s run could not be denied and the second rower smashed her way over for a converted try.

The Bears continued asking questions of the Eels, but the girls were resolute in defending their line. The visitors eventually drew level with a converted try five minutes before the break and it looked like the teams would go to oranges all locked up.

However, the Eels have proven time and again that they will play to the final seconds of each half and this week was no different. 

After holding the Bears out with clutch defensive plays, Parramatta’s grittiness drew frustration from their opponents who were penalised in possession just metres out from the Eels line.

A piggy-back penalty helped the Eels downfield, before a tidy kick from Alysha Bell on the last was well supported by an aggressive chase that forced a Bears line drop out. Five tackles later, a pinpoint pass from Kasey Quye found Nella Lima running an unstoppable line for the try. 

Alysha Bell’s conversion pushed the Eels back out to a six point lead as half time was called.

The second half was only a few minutes old when Bell then produced a game-defining moment.

North Sydney had broken into the back field, and with players streaming through in support they looked to be at impossibly good odds to score. Bell was left with three players to cover but slid across the first two perfectly, forcing a pass on each occasion, before bulldozing the left winger into touch two metres short of the line.

The high standard of play never waned during the second half, with both defences finding a way to shut down the enterprising attack.

Parramatta finally put the match to bed with just over five minutes remaining when a cut out pass from Alysha Bell opened a passage for Siulolovao Vave to crash over in the corner.

The 10-point win keeps the Eels positioned inside the top 6, a spot that they will look to consolidate when all three Junior Reps sides travel to Canberra this week.

Eels 16 (Tries: Mahe, Lima, Vave. Goals: Alysha Bell 2) defeated Bears 6.

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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