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NRL MATCH REPORT | Brisbane Broncos 18 Parramatta Eels 10

In round 12 of the NRL Telstra Premiership, the Brisbane Broncos have held on to beat the Parramatta Eels 18-10 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Firday night.

MATCH DETAILS

The Eels entered the game needing a win to keep their slim finals hopes alive, a task that seemed near impossible. The early stages were even, until the Broncos were able to score through Jamayne Isaako off a Kodi Nikorima bomb. Moments later, an offside infringement from a tap and go by Michael Jennings saw him sent to the bin, and the Broncos would take advantage immediately with a try to Corey Oates to stretch their lead to 12 points. Multiple times in the first half the Eels would work hard and get rewarded with repeat sets, and immediately committing errors afterwards, highlighted by a golden try scoring opportunity for Michael Jennings that went unconverted after a loose carry. Such mistakes gave the Eels a 76 percent completion percentage, compared to Brisbane’s 86 percent overall.

Brisbane were able to take their foot off the pedal, slightly, in the second half as the Eels failed to convert their chances, but a great break from Jaydn Su’A set up speedster James Roberts for a try in the right corner, putting the home side up by 16-2.  Although there was still more than 35 minutes left in the clash, the result seemed all but determined at the time. An intercept try to George Jennings off an Anthony Milford offload brought them to within eight points, but the Eels failed to capitalise on any more chances. James Roberts pulled up late on with a leg injury, later labelled an Achilles injury which puts him on the sidelines for a few weeks. Both sides traded penalty goals, finishing 18-10 to the Broncos.

FOUR POINTERS

Bennett wins in his 800th

Wayne Bennett’s illustrious Rugby League coaching career continued last night, this time getting a win on a more memorable occasion. Coaching since 1987 and gaining seven premierships along the way, Bennett coached his 800th match and his 618th for the Broncos. It may not have been the most glorious of Bennett wins over the years, but it was enough to push Brisbane back into the top eight for now.

Eels their own worst enemy

Brisbane only had to play their best footy for about half an hour, as Parramatta committed too many mistakes. It became a common trend where the Eels would gain great field position, and moments later commit agonising errors. Michael Jennings dropped the ball twice across the goal line with loose carries, as well as being sin binned for a brainless offside infringement that saw his side concede their second try in the first 15 minutes.

Young Brisbane forwards reaffirm their starting credentials

The core of Brisbane’s future in the forwards came out firing once again with Tevita Pangai Jr., Jaydn Su’A and Joe Ofahengaue all having great performances. Pangai and Su’A showed off their great ball running with 309 running metres between them as well Su’A setting up a pivotal seond half try, while Ofahengaue backed up his man of the match performance last week with 138 running metres as well as 38 tackles made. Brisbane is confident they can retain the services of Pangai and Su’A from next season into the foreseeable future, with both men also expressing their desire to remain at Red Hill.

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Norman/Gutherson switch works

If there is one silver lining for Parramatta last night, it would be the pleasing performances of Corey Norman and Clint Gutherson. Brad Arthur elected to move Gutherson into the halves to give him more room to run, while placing Norman at his traditional positon. The move saw Gutherson flank off Mitchell Moses and providing an important running option for Parramatta’s attack, while Norman became a third halves played with numerous attacking kicks and passes. It may not have worked against the Broncos, but the potential is there to beome a strong attacking trio in the near future.

WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?

Broncos forward Joe Ofahengaue said his side expected a tough outing, and credited his side’s attitude.

Eels Coach Brad Arthur has said he will stick with his positional changes of Norman at fullback and Gutherson in the halves, adding that Norman’s attacking game was pleasing.

THE RESULT

Broncos: 18
Tries: Isaako (8m), Oates (14m), Roberts (42m)
Goals: Isaako 3/4
Field Goals: N/A

Eels: 10
Tries: G. Jennings (52m)
Goals: Moses 3/3
Field Goals: N/A

SQUADS

Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd (c), 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 4 Jordan Kahu, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Kodi Nikorima, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Sam Thaiday, 11 Tevita Pangai Jr., 12 Jaydn Su’A, 13 Joe Ofahengaue Interchange: 14 Sam Tagataese, 15 George Fai, 16 Kotoni Staggs, 17 Patrick Mago

Eels: 1 Corey Norman, 2 Bevan French, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 George Jennings, 6 Clint Gutherson (c), 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Cameron King, 10 Siosaia Vave, 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Tepai Moeroa, 13 Peni Terepo Interchange: 14 Will Smith, 15 Suaia Matagi, 16 David Gower, 17 Marata Niukore

Aspiring sports journalist, currently studying at AUT in Auckland, New Zealand.

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