The Parramatta Eels are one win closer to keeping off the bottom of the ladder after an impressive performance against the St. George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
From the first whistle of the match it was all the Eels. The side dominated every aspect of the game, leaving not much room for the Dragons to capitalise and take control. Jarryd Hayne was the first to score on the night, crossing the line for Parramatta in the third minute. The Dragons’ first and only try came from Luciano Leilua three minutes after the break with Ben Hunt was unable to convert. The Eels continued on their point scoring ways up until the end when Siosaia Vave scored the final try of the night, and with the help of the boot of Mitchell Moses, the Eels blew the margin out to 36 points.
Jarryd Hayne hat-trick
The Hayne Plane took flight once again in his side’s incredible victory on Saturday night. Usually in the centres, he was moved to the wing for the match and it certainly paid off. After suffering a gash on his chin from the boot of a Dragons player, Hayne was strapped up “like a hot cross bun,” however this didn’t stop him from having one of his best games in some time. He scored a hat trick – all three tries in the first half – for the first time since 2013, and was by far one of, if not the best on field on the night for Parramatta.
Dragons Running Out of Fire
Despite being the premiership contenders for the majority of the season, the Dragons have looked depleted for a few weeks and their defeat against the Eels was no exception to that. St. George didn’t have much in both their defence and attack, scoring just one try while conceding seven. There were opportunities presented to them throughout the match, however last tackle options and errors were not their friend, completing their sets at just 64 per cent all night. It was a disappointing loss to the Dragons, with coach Paul McGregor calling it “not good enough and unacceptable.”
Losing Widdop Didn’t Help
In the time that Cameron McInnes was in the sin bin, the Dragons lost their five-eight Gareth Widdop to a dislocated shoulder in the first half. It was an unfortunate loss for the Dragons who were already struggling, however it is unclear if him being on the field would have made much difference to their efforts against the dominant Eels. The kicking game was handed over to Ben Hunt who struggled in moments that were crucial.
One of Parramatta’s Best
There is no doubt that the Eels’ performance on Saturday night was one of their best in a while. Parramatta looked dominant throughout the whole game, looking ready to play finals football. Coach Brad Arthur was very impressed with the performance, saying “it’s the first time all year we’ve put in a full 80 minutes.” The Eels have had solid halves of football throughout the year, however it wasn’t until Saturday against the Dragons that their dominant performance ran right through from start to finish, which is what fans know the Eels are capable of.
Parramatta Eels 40
Tries: Jarryd Hayne 3, George Jennings, Clinton Gutherson, Mitchell Moses, Siosaia Vave
Goals: Mitchell Moses 6
St. George Illawarra Dragons 4
Tries: Luciano Leilua