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Junior Reps Round 6 Wrap-Up: Eels impress against Cronulla

The Eels hosted the Sharks at New Era Stadium in the weekend’s Junior Reps fixtures, with the SG Ball side returning to winning ways while the Lisa Fiaola Cup campaign kicked off with a bang.

The Tarsha Gale Cup team’s month of unbeaten football came to a cruel end, and the Harold Matthews side enjoyed a bye.

Three rounds remain in the Junior Reps season before finals begin in April.

SG Ball Cup: Eels climb ladder with close win over Cronulla

The Eels returned to the winner’s circle with a hard-fought victory over the Cronulla Sharks in the SG Ball Cup.

Following their first loss of 2023, Parramatta responded at Cabramatta to return to equal-second on the ladder heading into the closing weeks of the regular season.

The Eels begun the match poorly, conceding an early converted try and being repelled repeatedly by the Sharks’ goal-line defence.

But the visitors finally cracked when a left edge play close to the line had back rower Dom De Stradis crashing over just wide of the posts.

The Sharks crossed next courtesy of a deflected kick which created space for their centre to score in the corner. A superb sideline conversion extended their lead to eight points.

Parramatta replied with a try from a well-executed scrum play. Receiving the ball on the sweep, fullback Apa Twidle linked with centre Devonte Vaivela who scythed through the defence and galloped 30 metres to the line.

Devonte Vaivela streaks away to score.
Devonte Vaivela streaks away to score.

Ethan Sanders’ conversion narrowed the margin to two points, before his penalty goal in the final minute of the half locked the scores at 12-12.

The Eels hit the lead for the first time eleven minutes into the second stanza after an Apa Twidle foray down the left edge took play close to the Sharks’ quarter. An immediate shift to the right created an overlap for winger Cainan Hardiman to get his first try of the season.

A thoroughly professional set from the Eels then led to their decisive, final try.

A great drive down the middle on the back of quick play-the-balls was followed by Sanders and Twidle combining down the left side to open up a passage for Mohamed Alameddine. The winger stepped inside the Sharks’ fullback to score and push the Eels’ lead beyond a converted try.

At 20-12, the Eels were in the driver’s seat but not yet home. With five minutes remaining, the Sharks set up a grandstand finish when a deflected kick set up a try in the left corner.

The Sharks did their best to breach the Eels’ defence in the closing minutes, but Parramatta held their nerve and recorded a crucial victory.

Eels 20 (Tries: De Stradis, Vaivela, Hardiman, Alameddine. Goals: Sanders 2) defeated Sharks 16.

Tarsha Gale Cup: Sharks steal victory in cliffhanger

The Eels suffered their first loss in over a month with a cruel defeat to Cronulla at Cabramatta.

A pair of intercept tries proved costly for Parramatta, with one coming in the final minutes and proving the match-winner.

The Eels dominated the early stages of play, and scored the opening try through dummy half Ashlee Pottinger. From there, the Eels’ attack had the Sharks defence stretched to the limit.

A second try looked to be on the cards when the Eels shifted the ball right, but Cronulla’s winger turned defence into attack with an intercept and raced nearly 90 metres untouched.

Not long after, the Sharks added their second try, extending their lead to six points.

Parramatta’s reply came via a magical pass from halfback Tallara Bamblett which found centre Caitlin Peadon screaming into a hole. She burst into the clear, sprinting away from the chasers in a 40-metre dash to the line.

Alysha Bell’s successful conversion locked the scores at 10 apiece at the halfway point.

Parramatta begun the second half with a distinct advantage in both possession and territory, but it took until the last 15 minutes for the scoreboard to change.

An unstoppable charge from prop Liaina Dimech next to the posts put the Eels up by six, but more drama was to follow.

With eight minutes remaining, the Eels lost Pottinger to injury and a penalty in the same tackle paved the way for Cronulla to score an equalising try.

Instead of settling for a draw, the Eels pushed for the win and came perilously close to snatching it through Debbie Doueihi.

Although it was the Sharks who came away with victory as an intercept try by winger Katalina Veikoso won the match.

The Eels have a chance to regroup and refresh with an upcoming bye before returning to action against the Panthers in Round 8.

Sharks 22 defeated Eels 16 (Tries: Pottinger, Peadon, Dimech. Goals: Bell 2).

Lisa Fiaola Cup: Eels electric in 2023 opener

The Eels enjoyed a marvellous start to the Lisa Fiaola Cup (Female U17s) season, tearing the Sharks to shreds in their first match at New Era Stadium.

A four-round competition for female pathways players, the competition functions as a steppingstone to the Tarsha Gale Cup (U19s).

In a display of bright attack and brutal defence, the Eels crushed Cronulla to the tune of 44-6, scoring nine tries in the process. With such synergy in the Eels’ display, it was astonishing to believe this was their first match as a team.

Next up for Parramatta is the Sea Eagles at 4 Pines Park.

Eels 44 defeated Sharks 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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