An amazing field goal from Mitchell Moses in golden point was enough for the Parramatta Eels to get over the line with a vital 13-12 victory against a tough and determined Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs side at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night.
In an absolute arm wrestle and hard hitting game of rugby league the Bulldogs showed a lot of character to work themselves back into the contest. As they trailed by ten at halftime with Parramatta supplying a well composed first half performance. The Bulldogs were the better side in the second half and amazingly turned a ten point deficit into a deadlock at full time. Golden point didn’t last long as Sam Kasiano was penalised for a strip which proved to be very costly. It became Parramatta’s game to lose, as Mitchell Moses was in perfect field position for his field goal which clinched an all important two competition points for Parramatta.
The match began in unusual fashion; as Will Hopoate threw a wild ball just five metres from his goal line when returning a Corey Norman kick. It missed the hands of his support player Marcelo Montoya completely who scrambled back in the in goal to prevent a possible four pointer. After referring to the bunker, referee Henry Perenara sin binned Montoya for deliberately taking out Mitchell Moses but didn’t award a penalty try. The Eels opted for the two points as Gutherson slotted an easy penalty goal which gave his side a 2-nil lead.
Bevan French and the Excitement of Parramatta
The Bulldogs looked destined to take the lead as Moses Mybe and Josh Morris created chances but couldn’t capitalise. The Eels earned back to back penalties and turned defence into attack straight away. On the halfway line Mitchell Moses fired a brilliant cut out ball to Bevan French who showed off his blistering speed on the wing and came up with a perfect chip kick and regather. Brett Morris and Will Hopoate couldn’t prevent this speedster from posting the first four pointer of the night. Gutherson was cool as a cucumber with his sideline conversion and the Eels led 8-nil. Five minutes before halftime and a well constructed attacking left side shift allowed Semi Radradra to crash over for his ninth try of the year as Parramatta led 12-2 at halftime.
Bulldogs Second Half Resurgence
The visitors’ only first half points came from a Moses Mybe penalty goal. The blue and white army stifled the Eels attack and generated many opportunities with the ball in hand. After having five sets of six in row in Parramatta’s half the Bulldogs finally cracked the defence of the Eels. Josh Morris assisted his twin brother Brett which got Des Hasler and his men back into the tough battle. The Bulldogs trailed by 6. Point scoring opportunities were limited in the second period as both sides reframed from playing enterprising football. After defending on their own goal line for a lengthy period the Bulldogs squared the match up through interchange player Matt Frawley who spotted a huge gap in the Eels defence from 20 metres out. Moses Mybe converted from right in front of the uprights and the match was back to level pegging at 12-all.
Both side had a single attempt at field goal during regular time as the Eels one and only shot came in golden point extra time where Moses succeeded. Parramatta hold on to their eighth spot on the NRL ladder and four more wins will ensure a 2017 semi final berth. Something Parramatta fans haven’t seen since 2009.
Heartache for the Bulldogs
The Bulldogs who were without James Graham and Greg Eastwood due to injuries were equally as good as the home side in defence. They showed much needed improvement in the second half with a better kicking game from Josh Reynolds and Moses Mybe. Interchange players Matt Frawley, Raymond Faitala-Mariner & Sam Kasiano provided energy and decent impact when needed. But once again another lacklustre first half in attack has come back to haunt Canterbury again. In their last four first halves they have only scored 4 points. If Des Hasler and his troops can win 7 of their last 9 matches to make the semi finals in 2017, this is the area of the game they need to improve on quickly.
Parramatta Eels 13
Tries: Bevan French, Semi Radradra
Goals: Clint Gutherson 2
Field Goals: Mitchell Moses 1
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12
Tries: Brett Morris, Matt Frawley
Goals: Moses Mybe 2