Parramatta broke through for their first win of the year against arch rivals Manly at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon. This result capped off a massive turn around in fortunes for the Eels after losing by 54-0 in round 2 to the Sea Eagles.
The game started with both sides showing plenty of effort and determination although poor ball handling plagued both sides as the game remained try-less until the 25th minute when Eels back rower Manu Ma’u crossed after some exciting lead up play from Mitchell Moses.
From that point Manly seemed to put up the white flag as the Eels ran in another two tries in the first half to take a 20-0 lead at halftime, the Sea Eagles needed a big start to the second half but instead provided more of the same with soft tries to Corey Norman and Michael Jennings putting the result to bed.
Manly did score a couple of late consolation tries but two more Eels tries to Kenny Edwards and then new Co-Captain Clint Gutherson put the icing on the cake for Parramatta’s first win of the season. After starting the year with such high expectations the Eels’ season hasn’t got going until this match, fans will be hoping this is a sign of things to come.
Lazy Thompson Game Changer
Although Parramatta started the better of the two sides Manly were able to ‘weather’ the early storm of possession the Eels had and after a Daly Cherry-Evans 40-20 kick the Sea Eagles were on the attack and should have posted the first try of the game. After a slick back-line movement Sea Eagles centre Brain Kelly cut through the defence beating three players to score under the posts, but after the try was sent to the bunker for review it was found Manly forward Joel Thompson had stopped in the defensive line after running through as a decoy and impeded Eels defender Tony Williams from making the tackle, if Thompson had made the extra effort to run through the line the try would have been awarded. Parramatta went downfield after the penalty and scored the next set which started the avalanche of points.
It was well reported Parramatta held a heated ‘honesty session’ amongst the players along with a very physical contact session during the week leading up to this game. Word coming out of Parramatta is that is was Jarryd Hayne who challenged his team mates during the session which was the catalyst to their inspired victory. Although Hayne re-injured his hip whilst throwing the final pass to the Eels first try and took no further part in the game it must be seen as a positive for Parramatta fans and coaches that it was Hayne making a positive influence amongst the side, for much of his career Hayne has been accused of being a lazy trainer and de-motivator amongst the playing group.
Bad Signs For Manly
With all the bad press coming out of Manly this week due to the Jackson Hastings story Manly fans were hoping to see their side come out with the siege mentality which the club has been built on for many years, but after having to defend for much of the early exchanges Manly again fell to pieces with some glaring moments to worry coach Trent Barrett. Joel Thompson’s effort was the first in a long line of poor efforts from Manly players along with letting Mitchell Moses run across field beating numerous players to set up the first try the Sea Eagles backed that up with letting Kaysa Pritchard score from five metres out barely touched. In the second half Jack Gosiewski let Corey Norman run straight past him whilst again there were a number of soft missed tackles leading up to the Gutherson try. You could also see plenty of finger pointing behind the line between the players which isn’t a good look or sign if you’re a Manly fan.
The much maligned Eels halfback Mitchell Moses put in his best performance of the year leading the Eels to a big victory, after playing the key role in setting up the first Eels try he then produced a magnificent looping cut out pass to put George Jennings over in the corner. In the second half he laid on a try for the other Jennings brother Michael with a smart chip kick noticing the Sea Eagles Tom Trbojevic was out of position. To cap things off Moses again played an important role in the lead up to Gutherson’s try to cap off a great afternoon for the Eels No.7 he also kicked eight goals for the match.
Tries: Manu Ma’u, George Jennings, Kaysa Pritchard, Corey Norman, Michael Jennings, Kenny Edwards, Clint Gutherson
Goals: Mitchell Moses 8/10
Drop Goals: N/A
Tries: Brad Parker, Akuila Uate
Goals: Daly Cherry-Evans 1/2
Drop Goals: N/A
Eels: 1 Clint Gutherson, 2 Jarryd Hayne, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 George Jennings, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 20 Suaia Matagi, 9 Kaysa Pritchard, 17 Daniel Alvaro, 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Tony Williams, 13 Peni Terepo, 10 Tim Mannah (c), 14 Will Smith, 15 Kenny Edwards, 16 David Gower,
Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Brad Parker, 3 Dylan Walker, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Akuila Uate, 6 Lachlan Croker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Jack Gosiewski, 13 Jake Trbojevic, 14 Matthew Wright, 15 Shaun Lane, 16 Lloyd Perrett, 17 Taniela Paseka,