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Hunt double leads Eels to first NRLW victory of season

Parramatta have ended a five-game losing streak in the NRLW by beating North Queensland 16-12 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium to open their account for 2023.

A double to Eels winger Kim Hunt set up victory for last year's grand finalists while the kicking game of Rachael Pearson proved the difference against a Cowboys side that crossed twice late but were poor with their discipline. 

The Eels made it hard on themselves in the opening stages, surrendering possession and field position early on.

China Polata and Zali Fay both came close to scoring first points, only to have their tries disallowed, before a Cowboys kick was knocked on over the line.

Mahalia Murphy Try

With just 39 per cent of possession and having been camped in their red zone, Mahalia Murphy broke the deadlock in the 20th minute for the home side.

Having spilled two high balls under pressure, Kimberley Hunt made sure she didn’t make the same mistake in attack as she collected a perfectly placed cross-field kick by Rachael Pearson to make it 10-0 to the Eels.

A line break from Emma Manzelmann helped get the Cowboys on the board in the 60th minute with Kirra Dibb sending Libby Surha over on untouched on the left edge.

Tiana Raftstrand-Smith Try

When Tiana Raftstrand-Smith crossed moments later to close the gap to two points a grandstand finish was on the cards but the Eels weren't about to let their first win slip away.

A crucial take from Cassey Tohi-Hiku under the high ball repelled the Cowboys a further chance late before an errors from Emma Manzelmann and Jess Reeves ensured the Eels would claim their first victory.

Match Snapshot

  • Parramatta's win was their first of 2023 after previously making the NRLW grand final in 2022.
  • Kim Hunt's double was the first of her NRLW career. She now has three tries in two games in the NRLW.
  • The Eels completed at 44 percent early before controlling possession better in the final 50 minutes of the game. 
  • Cowboys back-rower Libby Surha and Eels duo Lindsay Tui and Noaria Kapua made their NRLW debuts.
  • The Cowboys lost Surha late in the match with a shoulder injury.

Kimberley Hunt Try

Play of the game

Kim Hunt had a nightmare start, dropping the ball twice to put pressure on her side's defence early, but the winger made no mistakes in attack with her second half try in the 38th minute ending the Cowboys' hopes early.

Kimberley Hunt Try

What They Said

“The best part for me is that the girls deserve it and they really get an opportunity to enjoy it down there. We’ll let them enjoy it and know what it takes, and the reward you get when you win them at this level. It’s one of the best things about footy and the girls are really enjoying it. They put in a lot of work these last five weeks and it’s time that it came their way. We have been working on a few key areas for us to win the game and I think the girls really went out there and applied themselves and there are little improvements we have been making in our game and it was no fluke they came away with the points and I’m really pleased.” - Eels coach Dean Widders

Round 6: Eels

They Eels were obviously desperate, and they came desperate to play; in the end they got the win and they deserved what they got. Overall, defensively we were just poor... we had a lot of missed tackles so again we’re not getting up defensively, aiming up, whether that’s individually or collectively when we’re in tackles. You can’t be missing so many tackles.” - Cowboys coach Ben Jeffries

Round 6: Cowboys

What's Next

The Eels face the Roosters in Gosford in Round 7 while the Cowboys host the Dragons in Townsville on Saturday. 

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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