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Eels edged by Tigers on Easter Monday

The Eels suffered a dramatic 17-16 defeat to the Wests Tigers at CommBank Stadium on Easter Monday.

The Eels went down in a frantic end to the match, as Aidan Sezer kicked a 79th minute field goal for the Tigers before Clint Gutherson cruelly missed a penalty goal attempt from long range in the final play of the game.

Gutherson had been a shining light on a disappointing afternoon for the Eels, as he scored a try, assisted another, kicked four goals, and ran for a game-high 165 metres.

Maika Sivo scored for the Eels on his return from suspension, off a spectacular assist by Gutherson.

The Eels started slowly, conceding an early try to Justin Olam off a deft kick by Lachlan Galvin.

It took little over 10 minutes for the hosts to find their groove however, as they scored a sensational try the 2001 Parramatta Eels team would be proud of.

Attacking the Tigers’ right edge, Morgan Harper flicked an offload to Clint Gutherson on his inside, and the Eels Co-Captain delivered a basketball pass to the left wing for Maika Sivo to touch down in his first appearance of the year.

Eels balling as Sivo scores on return

Sean Russell, who assumed goal-kicking duties, was unable to convert from the sideline and the score remained 6-4 in the Tigers’ favour.

Parramatta had an abundance of opportunities to snatch the lead before the interval, but their execution in attack let them down in the absence of halfback Mitchell Moses.

A penalty on the stroke of half-time offered a path to points, as Clint Gutherson kicked the Eels level at six points apiece.

The Eels made sure there would be no repeat of their sluggish start to the match when they returned for the second half, as they snatched the lead inside five minutes.

J’maine Hopgood took matters into his own hands as he bust through the Tigers defence from inside his own half, and found the ever-reliable Clint Gutherson rushing up in support to streak away for a try.

Gutherson and Hopgood stand up

The skipper’s conversion bumped the Eels into a 12-6 lead.

The Eels’ next attacking raid was cut short by an apparent error, however a clever captain’s challenge saw the Bunker pick up a hip-drop tackle by Lachlan Galvin, and the Tigers five-eighth was sent to the sin bin.

With points proving hard to come by, Gutherson elected to take a shot at penalty goal and stretched the Eels’ advantage to eight points.

The Eels failed to capitalise on their one-man advantage in Galvin’s absence, and when he returned the Tigers quickly snatched the lead.

Justin Olam slid over for his second try off an Aidan Sezer cut-out pass after the Tigers halfback found the Eels’ right edge compressed.

Minutes later, Galvin sliced through out wide and found fullback Jahream Bula on the inside. Api Koroisau converted, putting the Tigers ahead 16-14 with 11 minutes remaining.

The Tigers were tracking towards victory, before an escort penalty allowed Clint Gutherson to kick the Eels level.

But with one minute remaining, Aidan Sezer put the Tigers on the cusp of victory with a wobbly field goal from 30 metres out.

There was another late twist to the tale when the Eels were awarded a penalty from their short kick-off, presenting Clint Gutherson with a goal kick to win the match.

But from 40 metres out and near the sideline, the Eels' inspirational Co-Captain was unable to land the kick and the Tigers came away with a one-point victory.

The Eels will look to return to winning ways when they travel to Canberra to face the Raiders on Sunday.

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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