Andrew Pelechaty reviews Parramatta’s win over the last-placed Broncos, solidifying their top four spot. Here’s how the game went.
|20th||Try Blake Ferguson (Parramatta)||Parramatta 4-0|
|22nd||Try Maika Sivo (Parramatta)||Parramatta 8-0|
|24th||Goal Mitchell Moses (Parramatta)||Parramatta 10-0|
|29th||Try David Fifita (Brisbane)||Parramatta 10-4|
|30th||Goal Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane)||Parramatta 10-6|
|33rd||Try Clinton Gutherson (Parramatta)||Parramatta 14-6|
|35th||Goal Mitchell Moses (Parramatta)||Parramatta 16-6|
|37th||Try Clinton Gutherson (Parramatta)||Parramatta 20-6|
|44th||Try Herbie Farnworth (Brisbane)||Parramatta 20-10|
|45th||Goal Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane)||Parramatta 20-12|
|49th||Try Jai Field (Parramatta)||Parramatta 24-12|
|51st||Goal Mitchell Moses (Parramatta)||Parramatta 26-12|
This game had a lot riding on it: for Parramatta, a win would give them a temporary buffer over the fifth-placed Canberra, while Brisbane would give Canterbury-Bankstown the wooden spoon back with a win.
It took 20 minutes for Parramatta to open the scoring. On the back of a Corey Oates knock on, and a penalty, the Eels spread the ball to the right, with Blake Ferguson scoring in the corner. It was just his second try in 2020.
Parramatta went bang bang from the restart, with Maika Sivo scoring in the left-hand corner after a midfield break by Reed Mahoney from dummy half.
The Broncos rebounded five minutes later with a try to David Fifita, barging over from 10 metres out, shrugging off Mitchell Moses like Nelson Muntz dealing with a schoolyard nerd. It also showed that Brisbane – who have had more collapses this season than the Australian middle-order – weren’t going to let Parramatta run over them tonight.
Or so it seemed…
A few minutes later, Oates saved a potential Parramatta try by getting his hands on a grubber in the in-goal. Parramatta benefited from the drop-out with an opportunistic try to Clint Gutherson: attempting to grubber into the in-goal, his kick ricocheted off the Broncos’ defenders, with Gutho regathering and scoring. Suddenly Parramatta led 16-6, with three tries in 15 minutes.
Gutherson scored his second try two minutes later, with the Eels going to the left corner off a scrum, to lead 20-6 at halftime. It seemed like a match-winning lead, especially with Brisbane’s traditionally poor second halves this season.
A blow for Brisbane early in the second half, with Fifita injuring his ankle in a tackle and leaving the field with the help of trainers. Brisbane got the penalty, with Junior Paulo put on report. They earnt a goal-line drop out soon after, through a Staggs grubber into the in-goal. It was “good news, everyone” for Herbie Farnworth, pouncing on a Darius Boyd grubber to score. The try reduced Parramatta’s lead to 20-12.
Parramatta hit back through a Broncos’ mistake: a poor pass from Isaac Luke was picked up by Jai Field, who ran away untouched. Moses’ conversion reinstated Parramatta’s 14-point lead.
Ferguson has an almost certain try denied with 10 minutes left: Henry Perenara ruled a knock-on from Gutherson (which was actually a tip-on to Ferguson), with Parramatta Captain’s Challenging it. While Parramatta won the Challenge, the try was still disallowed. Amid the confusion (and the boos from the pro-Parramatta crowd), the Eels got the ball back, but didn’t score. Hopefully the NRL doesn’t start turning into rugby union, where experts and armchair fans alike are confused by strange and overly-technical rulings.
The last round will be big for both teams: assuming Canberra beat the NZ Warriors on Sunday, then Parramatta’s game against the Wests Tigers will decide their top four hopes. It’s a danger game, as the Tigers will be farewelling their favourite son Benji Marshall. Brisbane – still in last place – will need to beat North Queensland at Lang Park to avoid their first wooden spoon, and rely on Penrith beating Canterbury.
Leading 20-6 at halftime, Parramatta were starting to look a little shaky after Herbie Farnworth scored early in the second half. A try from nowhere settled any nerves for the Eels: with Brisbane looking to reduce the deficit even further, a poor pass from Isaac Luke was swooped on by Jai Field, who ran 55 metres to score.
Parramatta Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Jai Field 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 16. Kane Evans 15. Andrew Davey 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown. Interchange: 10. Junior Paulo 11 Shaun Lane 14. Will Smith 17. Oregon Kaufusi.
Brisbane Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Richard Kennar 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Tom Dearden 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Issac Luke 10. Ben Te’o 11. David Fifita 12. Alex Glenn 13. Patrick Carrigan. Interchange: 14. Cory Paix 15. Jamil Hopoate 16. Xavier Coates 17. Ethan Bullemor.