2021 NRL Round Five, Eels 12 Dragons 26 – Report

Craig Cauchi reviews an early season blockbuster between Eels and Dragons at Bankwest Stadium. Here’s how the game went.


Eels 12

Tries: Isaiah Papali’i (43), Clint Gutherson (75)

Goals: Mitch Moses (44,76)

Dragons 26

Tries: Jack Bird (6), Matt Dufty (11, 70), Mikaele Ravalawa (32)

Goals: Zac Lomax (8, 13, 34, 56, 72)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Matt Dufty (Dragons)
2 pts – Zac Lomax (Dragons)
1 pt – Mikaele Ravalawa (Dragons)


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1st Half

Jack Bird returned from suspension with the opening try. Dragons were gifted an early opportunity off the back of a Gutherson error and the Eels middle defence held strong. Norman threw it out wide where Matt Dufty hit Jack Bird, who pushed through the cover defenders. The Dragons defence earned a seven tackle set and on the last, Clune and Dufty combined for the second try of the match. Adam Clune shaped for a cross field bomb but changed course with Matt Dufty screaming for the ball back inside. The fullback kicked through and was taken down by Nathan Brown with the bunker giving Dufty the benefit of the doubt and awarding a penalty try. Dufty had his hands all over the third try with a quick and accurate cut out pass finding a barnstorming Ravalawa. Eels defence rushed the fullback but Dufty was too quick, releasing the ball as he was crunched.

HALF-TIME: Parramatta Eels 0 St George Illawarra Dragons 18

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2nd Half

Eels started the half on the front foot with the Dragons conceding multiple set restarts, resulting in Tariq Sims sinbinning. Eels scored off the next play from a Nathan Brown pass close to the line for Isaiah Papali’i to score their first try. Momentum was all with Parramatta and they came close to scoring a second but the Dragons managed to hold on while being a player down. Tariq came back on the field with the Dragons back on the attack and from that set were awarded a penalty with Lomax converting the two points. Dylan Brown almost brought the Eels right back into the contest creating a break and passing inside for Gutherson to score under the posts. The bunker called the play back for an obstruction with Junior Paulo taking out Tyrell Fuimaono in the lead up. Adam Clune backed up their teams strong defence with a clean break, finding Matt Dufty on the inside for his second of the night. The Dragons defence finally cracked with Clint Gutherson fighting his way over the line.

FULL-TIME: Parramatta Eels 12 St George Illawarra Dragons 26


Blake Lawrie (Dragons), Mitch Moses (Eels)

Match Review Committee

Dylan Brown (Eels) – Grade 1 Crusher Tackle – Early Guilty Plea 1 match.
Clint Gutherson (Eels) – Grade 1 High Tackle Careless – Early Guilty Plea $1150 fine.

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