Not many people would have expected the Parramatta Eels to monster the Brisbane Broncos defence and conjure up a whopping 52-34 victory at Suncorp stadium on Thursday night.
In a Nutshell
In absolute point’s fest of the highest regard, the Eels produced their best attacking performance of 2017. Where do you start? The four try haul from Semi Radradra. Mitchell Moses and Corey Norman being one of the best halves pairings in the competition but the biggest take from this game is that Parramatta are a team that could end their 31 year premiership drought this season.
Wayne Bennett in the press conference felt it was the Broncos worst performance of the year. It’s been a long time since Brisbane has conceded a half century of points on home soil. The Broncos have played a more versatile and enterprising style of football. Something which hasn’t been a part of Wayne Bennett’s coaching style. His sides are more about structure and control of the game. Their execution let them down majorly which is one of the risks in playing such an expansive style. Time will tell if Bennett goes back to his old ways but Broncos fans would be worried by this result and whether they will pose a threat come finals time.
15 Seconds and the Semi Trailer is Off
The match began in the most extraordinary fashion, as Adam Blair took the first hit up for the Broncos off the kick off. He offloaded the ball five metres out from his own try line to Eels winger Kirisome Auva’a who scored just 15 seconds into the game. When you think about it, if Adam Blair just took the tackle and didn’t offload this match probably would have been a whole lot different. Mitchell Moses had an easy conversion adjacent to the uprights and the Eels raced to an early 6-nil lead.
Brisbane fans probally didn’t have time to breath during the first 20 minutes as the game was played a rapid pace. The Broncos couldn’t propel the relentless Eels attack as Semi Radradra had a night he will never forget and posted a glorious first half hat trick. His first was a brilliant individual effort from inside his own half. His second and third tries come off the back off the work of his halves Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses who both had another terrific game in attack. Moses slotted three more goals as the Eels were all over the Broncos by 24-nil.
To be fair the hosts had very little opportunities with the football during the first quarter of the game and were looking to make up for their poor defensive display. David Mead got over the line for a crucial try for the hosts as Darius Boyd assisted Mead with a handy lofted cut out ball. Queensland origin representative Josh McGuire pounced on a ball in the in goal area and the Eels were also showing fragile signs in their defensive structure. Anthony Milford landed a conversion to reduce Parramatta’s lead to 14.
When a possible comeback was on the cards the Broncos only had themselves to blame. Mitchell Jennings scored for the Eels off the back of a clever short side attacking raid as Moses kept his perfect goal kicking record for the night intact. At the break Parramatta led 30-10 and had the game in the palm in their hand.
Parramatta continue to put the foot down
The Broncos needed to put their first half defensive woes behind them and execute their enterprising style of rugby league. However the Eels had a knack of scoring tries out of absolutely nothing. Semi Radradra was eyeing a try scoring club record as a normal hit up towards the defence turned into an 80 metre sprint down the park. Moses added the extra two points as the Eels extended their lead to 36-10.
Parramatta picked up a few injuries in Kenny Edwards and Frank Pritchard, which tested their energy and desire in defence. The Broncos capitalised on the brief period when the Eels were reduced to a two man bench. Anthony Milford assisted Herman Ese’ese for his first try of the year and Alex Glenn barged over from dummy half. Milford converted both tries as Broncos fans were hoping their side could pull off a miracle comeback as they trailed 36-22.
However that proposition was put to bed very quickly and Brisbane produced one of it’s worst nights at Suncorp Stadium in quite a long time. Michael Jennings secured a double for the game, Brad Takirangi was well supported by an insane flick pass from Semi Radradra and David Gower was the only forward to get across the white chalk for the visitors. Mitchell Moses added two more goals as the Eels stormed to a 52-22 lead.
Too Little to Late for Brisbane
Brad Arthur would of been disappointed that his team dropped their bundle in defence. Anthony Milford came up with his third try assist of the night sending Tautau Moga to crash over. On the full-time siren Darius Boyd placed a grubber kick off the back of scrum just 20 metres out from their own goal line. James Roberts got possession and took off down the touchline and sent Corey Oates in to score what was arguably the try of the game. At full-time the Eels ran out victors by 52-34 in an entertaining and crazy game of rugby league.
Parramatta Eels 52
Tries: Semi Radradra 4, Michael Jennings 2, Kirisome Auvu’a, Brad Takarangi, David Gower
Goals: Mitchell Moses 8
Brisbane Broncos 34
Tries: David Mead, Herman Ese’ese, Josh McGuire, Alex Glenn, Tautau Moga, Corey Oates
Goals: Anthony Milford 5