Paramatta Eels 36
Tries: Jarry Hayne 2, Ken Sio 2, Corey Norman, Pauli Pauli
Goals: Chris Sandow 6/6
St George Illawarra Dragons 0
Benji Marshall’s comeback to the NRL could not have been scripted worse, making several errors as the Dragons were humbled 36-0 by the Parramatta Eels in front of a sell-out crowd of 18,640 at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Dragons were their own worst enemy, making 16 handling errors and their right-side defence was particularly vulnerable in a match dominated from start to finish by the Eels. Fullback Jarryd Hayne was in inspired form, crossing for two tries and setting up another, while half back Chris Sandow was a constant threat.
The Dragons only had three genuine scoring opportunities, and can consider themselves very unlucky to be denied twice. First, a Joel Thompson try was pulled back for a double knock-on despite both knock- ons being by the Eels, then, again in the first half, a Mike Cooper try was pulled back for a very marginal forward pass call.
In a scrappy first half, the Eels scored twice; the first, to winger Ken Sio off a Nathan Peats cut-out pass in the 21st minute, converted by Chris Sandow. Then in the 33rd minute a Dragons’ pass was spilled and Eels five eighth Corey Norman pounced and raced away for a try. Sandow’s conversion made it 12-0.
Just two minutes into the second half a bullocking run by Junior Paulo set up Jarryd Hayne for an entertaining try, converted from in front by Sandow.
In the 49th minute, Sandow and Will Hopoate combined to send Sio over for his second. To add insult to injury Sandow slotted the sideline conversion to make it 24-0, with still half an hour to go.
An Eels drop out in the 57th minute summed up the Dragons’ day; Sandow’s effort was low and hard, finding touch just 11m out from the Eels line giving his side possession.
An inside ball by Hayne found Pauli Pauli for a try and Sandow’s perfect day with the boot continued to make it 30-0 with 15 minutes left.
The nightmare for the Dragons continued with a soft try to Hayne, converted by Sandow to push the score to 36-0 after 72 minutes and thankfully for Dragons fans, the Eels couldn’t add any further misery in the final 8 minutes.
For Brad Arthur the result continued a remarkable season for the Eels; last years’ wooden spooners are currently in 3rd position while the Dragons have scored just 6 points in 160 minutes of rugby league as their season continues to spiral out of control.