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Eels come up short in Canberra thriller

The Eels were defeated 26-18 by the Raiders on a cold Canberra night on Saturday.

The entertaining match went down to the final 10 minutes, and Canberra came out on top courtesy of a late try to Matt Timoko.

The Eels lost Shaun Lane for the match after he limped off with an injury in the early stages, while Junior Paulo and Bailey Simonsson were both placed on report.

The first half was a tense affair, with a pair of penalty goals all to report from the opening 20 minutes. The match roared to life when Corey Horsburgh was sent to the bin for throwing a punch at Ryan Matterson.

Canberra looked set to escape the sin-binning unscathed, before J’maine Hopgood opened the scoring, days after signing a new contract with the Eels.

Hopgood scores his first NRL try!

Attacking the line, Ryan Matterson rolled a clever grubber into the left upright and Hopgood was on hand to pounce for his first NRL try. Clint Gutherson, who assumed goal-kicking duties in the absence of Mitchell Moses, added the conversion to hand the Eels an 8-2 lead.

Canberra dealt a cruel blow on the eve of halftime, as Albert Hopoate dived over for a try after a hip drop penalty marched them upfield. Jarrod Croker’s conversion from out wide made it 8-8 at the break.

The Raiders came flying out of the blocks in the second half, with two tries off grubbers before the 50-minute mark putting them ahead by 12 points.

With very little going their way, the Eels were desperate for some good fortune to turn their night around, and it finally came in the 53rd minute.

A deflected pass deep inside Parramatta’s half landed in Will Penisini’s hands, and the centre burst into the clear before kicking infield for Dylan Brown. The five-eighth dived on the ball and took the tackle, and then some smart work by Brendan Hands and Bryce Cartwright sent Bailey Simonsson over the stripe.

Simonsson crosses the stripe

A penalty goal edged Canberra closer to victory, but the Eels were up for the fight.

After forcing a try-saving error over the line, Parramatta marched upfield and forced their way back into the contest. The Eels shifted play to the left, where Maika Sivo showed every ounce of his strength to muscle his way to a try.

Super Sivo shows his strength

Clint Gutherson kept his cool to convert from the sideline, narrowing the margin to four points with 10 minutes to play.

Momentum was with the Eels, before a high-tackle penalty gifted Canberra an opportunity to seal the deal, which they accepted as Matt Timoko pounced on a Jordan Rapana bat-back.

The Eels will look to bounce back in next week's match against South Sydney.

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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