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Eels downed by Bulldogs on King's Birthday

The Eels suffered a cruel 22-18 defeat to the Bulldogs at Accor Stadium on Monday.

A largely positive Parramatta performance was not enough against a spirited Bulldogs side, playing before a huge home crowd in the annual King's Birthday encounter.

The Eels’ failure to capitalise on the second-half sin-binning of Kurt Mann proved costly, as the Bulldogs scored twice in the final 15 minutes to snatch the win.

The result brought an unfortunate end to Clint Gutherson’s 200th NRL game.

The Eels opened the match in emphatic fashion, opening the scoring after just seven minutes.

In an early attacking raid, the Eels spine shifted the ball to Blaize Talagi on the right wing, and the young gun finished the move fantastically. 10 metres out, Talagi had a narrow path to the try line but blitzed the Bulldogs with pace to dive over in the corner.

Blaize burns through for opener

Mitchell Moses converted from the sideline to put the Eels ahead 6-0.

Buoyed by a big home crowd, the Bulldogs upped their intensity and snatched the lead with back-to-back tries. Stephen Crichton and Blake Wilson crossed in quick succession, punishing the Eels’ new-look left edge.

The Eels responded well to falling behind, as they fought their way back into the red zone and came close to scoring on numerous occasions.

With the Bulldogs’ goal-line defence holding firm, the Blue & Gold took the scenic route to score a beautiful try.

40 metres from the try line, Mitchell Moses burst through the Bulldogs defence on the last tackle after feigning to kick. The halfback delivered a fabulous flick pass to Bryce Cartwright, who weaved through three defenders before getting an arm free to send Will Penisini over the stripe.

Right-edge magic sets up stunner

Moses backed up with another conversion to bump the Eels ahead 12-10.

The hosts thought they had reclaimed the lead after a Matt Burton bomb was spilled in dangerous territory, but the Bulldogs chasers were caught offside.

Mitchell Moses’ attempt to add to the Eels tally with a field goal on the stroke of halftime was waved away, and Parramatta hit the sheds with a two-point lead.

The Eels kicked off the second half as they did the first, crossing for a crucial, early try.

Having scored their first two tries on the right side, the Eels switched their attention left where Dylan Brown and Kelma Tuilagi linked. Brown drew in the Bulldogs defence before laying a short pass to Tuilagi, who barged through the line to touch down.

Kelma cannons to a try

Moses’ third successful conversion of the night put the Eels up 18-10.

The sin-binning of Kurt Mann gave the Eels an enormous advantage heading into the final quarter of the match. However, they failed to score while up a player, and it came back to bite.

Soon after Mann returned, Crichton crossed for his second to narrow the gap to two points. Then, with five minutes remaining, Blake Wilson scored a runaway, match-winning try.

The Eels will aim to return to winning ways when they host the Sydney Roosters at CommBank Stadium on Saturday 15 June.

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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