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Eels downed in Darwin by Broncos

The Eels fell short of a courageous comeback in Darwin as the Broncos held on for a 26-16 win on Friday night.

The result was compounded by injuries to Reagan Campbell-Gillard (leg) and Bailey Simonsson (head) on a tricky night of wild weather in front of a sold-out Darwin crowd.

There was plenty of sting in the early exchanges, with both sides aiming up in defence. Reagan Campbell-Gillard was in the thick of it, laying a big shot on Jordan Riki.

Brisbane put the first two scores on the board, with Adam Reynolds’ penalty goal and Herbie Farnworth’s opening try giving them a 6-0 lead.

Having been starved of quality possession throughout the first half, the Eels took full advantage of their first attacking opportunity.

Clever footy from Brown and Gutherson

Dylan Brown put an audacious kick to the in-goal immediately after a set restart, which Clint Gutherson toed forward and won the race to for a try. Mitchell Moses’ conversion from out wide levelled the scores.

The Broncos dominated the remainder of the first half, as some freaky football and good fortune helped them run in three tries.

A spectacular flick pass by Ezra Mam sent Reynolds over the line, before a pair of cruel bounces set up tries for Mam and Kotoni Staggs.

The Eels suffered another setback early into the second half as Bailey Simonsson was forced from the field following a head clash.

Parramatta’s woes were worsened when J’maine Hopgood was sin-binned for an alleged hip drop tackle. The Eels made it through the ten minutes without conceding a try, but Brisbane knocked over a pair of penalty goals to establish a 20-point lead.

A piece of pure brilliance breathed life into the Eels and inspired a fightback.

A Maika Sivo special!

Attacking the line, Dylan Brown kicked cross-field and Maika Sivo soared to beat Selwyn Cobbo in an aerial duel and pluck out the ball for a try. Moses converted from the sideline, bringing the Eels back into the contest with 20 minutes remaining.

The Broncos were reduced to 12 men when Ezra Mam was cited for a hip drop, and the Eels swiftly capitalised on the numerical advantage.

Great hands as Sean Russell slides over

A great exchange of hands by Clint Gutherson and Will Penisini created an overlap on the right edge, where Sean Russell slid over for the Eels’ third try to take the score to 26-16.

This would be the final scoring play of the night however, as Brisbane held on to claim a 10-point win.

The Eels ended the match with only two players on the bench, following Simonsson’s head knock and a leg injury to Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

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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