Brendan Wood reviews the Parramatta Eels thrilling 36-22 win over the Wests Tigers. Here’s how the game went:
Tries: Daine Laurie (31), Stefano Utoikamanu (35), Adam Doueihi (64), Jacob Liddle (72)
Goals: Adam Doueihi (36, 65, 73)
Tries: Marata Niukore (13), Isaiah Papali’i (19) Tom Opacic (25, 40), Blake Ferguson (45, 80), Clint Gutherson (78)
Goals: Mitchell Moses (14, 26, 79, 80)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Clint Gutherson (Parramatta Eels)
2 pts – Reed Mahoney (Parramatta Eels)
1 pt – Adam Doueihi (Wests Tigers)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
It was a rocky start to the game for Parramatta when Junior Paulo made an error off the opening kick-off. Despite being gifted an early opportunity, the Tigers couldn’t take advantage on the scoreboard.
The two teams went back and forth for 10 minutes as they tried to find their rhythm. Eventually the Eels got themselves into an attacking position and found the first points of the game. Mitchell Moses grubbered in behind the Tigers defence for Marata Niukore to regather and score.
Six minutes later, the Eels had their second try after several late offloads gave Isaiah Papali’i a chance and he busted a tackle to score. In the following sets, the Eels attack again looked crisp as they found their third, when Tom Opacic took a short ball from Reed Mahoney and wrestled through a tackle to score.
Trailing by 16 points, the Tigers finally found a response. Luciano Leilua tapped back a cross field kick into the hands of Daine Laurie, who had a clean run to the line and got the Tigers on the board.
In the following set, Blake Ferguson spilt a bomb in his own half and the Tigers pounced. Luke Brooks cleaned up the loose ball and passed to Stefano Utoikamanu who had no one between him and the line. He scored under the posts to cut the lead back to six points.
In the shadows of halftime, the Eels were gifted one last crack at the Tigers defence. After several strong charges by the forward pack, Clint Gutherson kicked in behind and Tom Opacic won the race. He grounded the ball just inside the dead ball line to give the Eels a 10 point lead at the break.
HALF-TIME: Wests Tigers 10 Parramatta Eels 20Embed from Getty Images
It was more of the same from the Eels to begin the second half. They were the beneficiaries of an early six again call and made the Tigers pay. They ran the ball down the short side and Blake Ferguson busted several tackles to score.
Not long after the Ferguson try, Reed Mahoney nailed a 40/20 to put the Eels back on the front foot. However, they made an error early in their set to let the Tigers off the hook. The Tigers returned the favour with an error of their own, but again the Eels couldn’t take advantage.
The game descended into an exchange of errors with both sides struggling to complete their sets and maintain possession. The Tigers received a fortunate obstruction penalty on a kick return from Clint Gutherson. With their first attacking set of the half, they spread the ball to the right and Adam Doueihi stepped his way through a tackle and grabbed a try.
Inside the final 10 minutes, the Tigers comeback was well and truly on when Luciano Leilua poked his nose through the line and offloaded for Luke Brooks. Brooks broke into the backfield and drew Gutherson across, then passed to Jacob Liddle who finished off the try.
With the margin back to two points, the game tightened up with both sides trying to land the finishing blow. Eventually, the Eels would put the game away when Clint Gutherson got a fortunate bounce of his own grubber to score the game winning try. On the fulltime siren Blake Ferguson rubbed in the victory with a runaway try, giving the Eels a 14-point win over a willing Tigers side.
FULL-TIME: Wests Tigers 22 Parramatta Eels 36Embed from Getty Images
Match Review Committee
to be advised