Parramatta opened their new stadium with a bang hammering a woeful Wests Tigers side 51-6. The build up to the opening of Bankwest Stadium was one fit for a Grand Final, and the Eels played like they were in a Grand Final putting in a near perfect performance.
After a massive build up to the game which involved the National Anthem, Welcome to Country and a host of former Eels’ legends lining up on the field the game finally kicked off, but it was over after just one tackle for Eels’ prop Daniel Alvaro would was concussed on the first play of the game sent for a HIA and not to return.
But if you thought that would be a bad omen for the Eels they quickly went about putting that to bed, after starting the game at an impressive speed their two off-contract stars Clint Gutherson and Mitchell Moses combined off a 20 metre restart to go 80 metres and score the first NRL try on the new field through Moses.
This started the procession of Parramatta points as four minutes later Moses delivered a perfectly weighted kick for centre Brad Takairangi to leap onto and score. Three more Eels’ tries in the following twelve minutes blew the game apart with the Tigers wondering what had hit them, but they managed to cross the line just before halftime through prop Ben Matulino to go into the sheds trailing 30-6.
If the Tigers were to compile a miracle comeback they needed to be first to score in the second half, but some more soft defence let Eels’ rookie Oregon Kaufusi cross for a simple try to put the game to bed. More tries through Reed Mahoney and Fijian winger Maika Sivo got the Eels within striking distance of the magical fifty points mark, and to the joy of the 29,000 strong crowd they got there after Moses converted the Eels ninth try through back rower Shaun Lane.
To rub further salt into the wounds Moses calmly put over a field goal to leave the final score 51-6 a score-line that truly represented the difference between the two sides on the day, everything Parramatta touched turned to gold whilst the Tigers will probably think they didn’t do too much wrong after completing their sets at a higher percentage than their opponents and missing less tackles, they’ll be wondering how the score-line ended up so lopsided.
Welcome to Bankwest Stadium
Western Sydney has been crying out for a new Stadium for many years now so the build up to the opening of Parramatta’s Bankwest Stadium has been one of excitement and joy. When Parramatta built the old Parramatta Stadium on the Grounds of the old Cumberland Oval the Queen was present to officially do the honours, on that occasion Parramatta defeated the Dragons 36-6 with Eels forward Steve Sharp scoring the first try, and whilst their were no royals present to cut the ribbon this time the new start for the home of the Eels 2.0 was even better with Moses taking the ‘box set’ of firsts, scoring the first try, goal and field goal on the new ground.
Eels chief play-maker Mitchell Moses not only scored the first points on the new field he also produced a near perfect display controlling the game with his running, ball playing, support play and general kicking. Moses scored one try and set up three others, whilst he was involved in pretty much everything that went right for Parramatta against his former club. Off-contract at Parramatta and reportedly mulling over a deal offered by the club, the enigmatic half might have just written an extra zero on the end of his deal with that five-star performance.
The Tigers’ faithful were expecting a big season under new coach Michael Maguire and whilst there are plenty of sides doing far worse than they are, they must be concerned with their performances in a couple of matches against local rivals. The loss to the Bulldogs came as a massive shock, and whilst they were the better side against the Panthers they lost a game they should have won. This game though will hurt the most because of the manner in which they succumbed with little resistance, for a side who prided themselves last season on being tough and hard to beat, the ease in which Parramatta steam rolled them through the middle said they were anything but tough or hard to beat.
Big Party Sore Heads
The party atmosphere which surrounded the lead up and opening to this match will have probably gotten the better of some fans who would have enjoyed a few beverages to celebrate the occasion, but there were a few players who will be left nursing sore heads for a different reason. No less than five players left the game at different stages for a HIA after a bruising start to the game which had Alvaro, Marata Niukore and Robbie Farah all suffer concussions in the opening quarter of the match. Whilst Niukore returned both Alvaro and Farah played no further part in the game, Eels forward Tepai Moeroa also had to leave the field in the second half after getting his head in the wrong position. Tigers’ rookie Luke Garner also copped a clash of heads to end an unhappy day for him and his team mates.
Parramatta Eels 51
Tries: Michael Jennings 2, Moses, Takairangi, Salmon, Kaufusi, Mahoney, Sivo, Lane
Goals: Moses 7/9
Drop Goals: Moses
Wests Tigers 6
Goals: Marsters 1/1
Drop Goals: n/a
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson, 2. Maika Sivo, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Brad Takairangi, 20. Josh Hoffman, 6. Jaeman Salmon, 7. Mitchell Moses, 8. Daniel Alvaro, 9. Reed Mahoney, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Shaun Lane, 12. Marata Niukore, 14. Peni Terepo, 13. Tepai Moeroa, 15. Tim Mannah, 16. Oregon Kaufusi, 17. Ray Stone
Tigers: 1. Moses Mbye, 2. Mahe Fonua, 3. Robert Jennings, 4. Esan Marsters, 5. Corey Thompson, 6. Josh Reynolds, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Russell Packer, 9. Robbie Farah, 10. Alex Twal, 11. Ryan Matterson, 12. Luke Garner, 13. Josh Aloiai, 14. Ben Matulino, 15. Thomas Mikaele, 16. Matthew Eisenhuth, 17. Michael Chee-Kam