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Junior Reps Round 8 Wrap-Up: Finals race heats up

The Eels’ hunt for finals footy continued in the penultimate round of the Junior Reps season, as all sides faced the Panthers in a local derby at New Era Stadium on Saturday.

The Tarsha Gale and Lisa Fiaola Cup sides prevailed over Penrith, while the SG Ball and Harold Matthews fell short against strong opposition.

Round 8’s results leave the SG Ball, Harold Matthews, and Tarsha Gale Cup teams all in contention for the play-offs heading into the final round of the season.

Tarsha Gale Cup: Eels leapfrog Panthers into top six

Parramatta entered the top six of the Tarsha Gale Cup with one round remaining by scoring a crucial win over the Panthers.

Sitting in seventh place ahead of the local derby, the Eels overpowered Penrith to leapfrog them into fifth position and put their finals fate in their own hands.

Hayley Bell, Lindsay Tui, Caitlin Peadon and Alysha Bell were all on the scoresheet, with the latter nailing four conversions from four attempts, including three from the sideline.

Penrith got off to a strong start, crossing in the first two minutes and stretching the Eels’ defence to the limit. Time and time again, the Panthers threatened to add to the scoreboard, but the Eels scrambled to hold them out.

Just before halftime, the tide of the match turned.

From a penalty, the ball was shifted right where a short blindside play saw Hayley Bell power her way through the defence to score in the corner.

Alysha Bell nailed a brilliant conversion from the sideline to level the scores, but the Eels were not done for the first half yet.

With two minutes remaining in the opening stanza, Hayley Bell charged towards the line once again and produced a brilliant, late offload for Lindsay Tui to crash over.

The crowd waited in anticipation for Alysha Bell’s conversion and the Eels sharpshooter didn’t disappoint, drilling her second goal from out wide.

Parramatta maintained their intensity after the break and their intent was rewarded five minutes into the half.

A strong attacking set down the right edge was followed by rapid hands down the left. Caitlin Peadon showed a clean set of heels to finish the try-scoring movement, before Bell banged the conversion over with ease to make it a 12-point lead.

A set restart from a charge down was the platform for the Eels’ next try. 

Laila Dimech put the Eels on the front foot with some real go-forward, then the Eels took the ball down the left where Peadon turned from try-scorer to creator. Her fading angled run to the sideline was followed by a flick inside to Alysha Bell who jagged back infield to dive over.

The try-scorer calmly steered over her third sideline conversion of the afternoon, securing an 18-point victory for the Eels.

Parramatta face an enormous task when they take on the undefeated Bulldogs in the last regular season round at Belmore, with a place in the finals on the line.

Eels 24 (Tries: H Bell, Tui, Peadon, A Bell. Goals: A Bell 4) defeated Panthers 6.

Harold Matthews Cup: Late intercept cruels Eels comeback

A heartbreaking intercept try in the dying stages stopped the Eels short of a fantastic comeback win over the Panthers.

The Eels did wonderfully well to claw their way into the contest and draw level after trailing 16-4, but Penrith’s length-of-the-field try with four minutes to spare proved the difference.

Parramatta’s first try came through winger Dom Farrugia in the 7th minute, as he finished off a well-worked backline move that featured halves Junior Fagalele and Lorenzo Talataina.

Penrith’s three first-half tries put them in control at the break however, leaving the Eels with a mountain to climb in the second half.

The Eels kickstarted their comeback early in the second half when prop Jordan Uta put defenders in a spin cycle with a devastating move on the goal-line to close the gap to six points.

Parramatta then drew level when hooker Zaidas Muagututia capitalised on a strong run by captain Jezaiah Futa-Iuta to dive over from dummy half.

The Eels were seemingly coming home with a wet sail as their forwards dominated the closing stages, but their search for a winning try ended in heartbreak as Panthers winger Harry Wald took an intercept and went the distance to snatch victory for the visitors.

The loss leaves Parramatta in third place on the ladder, and will play for a place in the finals against the Roosters next week.

Panthers 22 defeated Eels 16 (Tries: Farrugia, Uta, Muagatutia. Goals: Farrugia: 2).

Lisa Fiaola Cup: Eels far too strong for Western Sydney rivals

The Eels’ white-hot form in the Lisa Fiaola Cup continued with a convincing win over the Panthers in a local derby at New Era Stadium.

The Blue & Gold are now three from three in the competition, with wins over Cronulla, Manly and now Penrith to their name.

Penrith asked plenty of questions of the Eels’ defence in the early stages, but Parramatta scored the opener when Waiaria Ellis fired a pass to Alaianne Toai-Alaimalo close to the line. The powerful prop would not be denied, and Kayla Henderson added the extras to provide a 6-0 lead.

The Eels again had to roll up their sleeves in defence, and the positive attitude and tenacity of the team was showcased as the girls refused to yield to the pressure.

When Danielle Seckold was introduced to the contest, she had an immediate impact for the Eels. An attacking set pushed the Panthers scramble defence to the limit before an overlap was created for Aysha-Rain Peitersz to dive over in the right corner.

From the ensuing kick off, the Eels pushed the pedal to the metal. Aaliyah Soufan orchestrated an outside-inside play with Alaianne Toai-Alaimalo, and the Eels prop charged 25 metres to score her second try of the day.

More football magic was to come during the final third, and it commenced with brilliant deception from five-eighth Waiaria Ellis. After feigning to pass, Ellis sliced through the Panthers defence then held up her pass perfectly for Danielle Seckold to cross under the posts. 

Parramatta were now in a menacing mood and more pain was in store for the visitors when Aaliyah Soufan darted over next to the sticks.

The Panthers added a well-deserved try late on, but the Eels came away with a comfortable victory. Parramatta play their final match against the Bulldogs at Belmore next weekend.

Eels 28 (Tries: Alaianne Toai-Alaimalo 2, Peitersz, Seckold, Soufan, Ellis. Goals: Henderson, Jones) defeated Penrith 4.

SG Ball Cup: Eels fall short to reigning premiers

A strong first half was not enough for the Eels as they were overrun by the Panthers to the tune of 42-14.

The Eels were missing several key players against the reigning premiers, and were right in the contest early in the second half at 18-14, before running out of steam and conceding four unanswered tries which blew out the scoreline.

The two sides went blow for blow in the opening 20 minutes.

Penrith were first to score, but Parramatta responded promptly as Devonte Vaivela touched down following a well-crafted backline move featuring deft hands from fullback Apa Twidle and centre Richard Penisini.

Penisini pounced on a bouncing bomb for the Eels’ second try, sandwiched between a pair of Panthers tries which put them ahead 18-10 at the break.

It was game on when Parramatta scored the first try of the second half, as Tuvaku Palu crossed from a scrum play for the Eels.

The stage was set for a big finish, but the undermanned Eels had little joy from there on as Penrith posted four tries and a penalty goal to put the game beyond Parramatta’s reach.

The result saw Penrith leapfrog Parramatta into second spot on the SG Ball ladder, leaving the Eels in third spot ahead of their final match against the Roosters.

Panthers 42 defeated Eels 14 (Tries: Vaivela, Penisini, Palu. Goals: Sanders 1).

Imagery provided by Stephanie Spooner, Shots On Me 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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