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2021 NRL Round 15, Eels 36 Bulldogs 10 – Report

Mitch Bourke reviews Parramatta’s come-from-behind win over Canterbury-Bankstown. Here’s how the game went.

SCOREBOARD

Eels 36

Tries: Ryan Matterson (7), Mitch Moses (45), Shaun Lane (49), Reagan Campbell-Gillard (63), Sean Russell (71, 74)

Goals: Mitch Moses (8, 46, 51, 65, 72, 76)

Bulldogs 10

Tries: Dylan Napa (27), Tuipulotu Katoa (38)

Goals: Jake Averillo (29)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Mitch Moses (Parramatta Eels)
2 pts – Clint Gutherson (Parramatta Eels)
1 pt – Isaiah Papali’i (Parramatta Eels)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

Heavy favourites heading into the clash, the fourth-placed Eels were left stunned at half-time.

They would strike first and lead until just before the half-hour mark, with Ryan Matterson stealing Mitch Moses’ cross-field chip from the clutches of Aaron Schoupp and diving over the stripe in the seventh minute.

But Canterbury’s retaliation came in a similar fashion.

Having asked questions of Parramatta’s right-edge defence with his kicking game, Jake Averillo produced the Bulldogs’ equaliser. His high-ball spilt from the grasp of Haze Dunster and skipped to Dylan Napa, whose 360 spin put the exclamation mark on his first try in 44 games, levelling the scoreline at 6-6.

Parramatta’s Marata Niukore was sin-binned on the cusp of half-time, forcing the now undermanned Eels to desperately defend their line until the interval.

And gallantly defend they did, until Canterbury’s third consecutive attacking set became too much to withstand.

A decisive Harbour Bridge pass from Brandon Wakeham caught Dunster inside, and arced into the lap of Tuipulotu Katoa, who couldn’t be stopped by a sliding Clint Gutherson in the left corner.

Against all odds, the Bulldogs lead 10-6 at the break.

HALF-TIME: Parramatta Eels 6 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 10

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2nd Half

It was all smiles for Canterbury at half-time, but they would relinquish their shock ascendancy early into the second half with a costly error.

Twenty metres out from his own line on the last tackle, Averillo passed into the shoulder of an unsuspecting Napa and Moses pounced on the loose ball, kicking it clear of the Bulldogs’ line. With nothing separating Moses and the in-goal, Wakeham brought him down off the ball, illegally stopping a certain try.

A penalty try was duly awarded, and the Eels lead 12-10.

From there they never looked back, kicking into gear to remind us why they’re a top-four side.

Their advantage stretched beyond a converted try when Shaun Lane busted into the backfield, rendering last-man-in-defence Nick Meaney a witches hat with plenty of runners in support on his journey to the in-goal.

A Luke Thompson sin-binning further hindered the Bulldogs, and Parramatta’s front-rowers combined in the final seconds of his absence to take full advantage, with Junior Paulo’s pass sending Reagan Campbell-Gillard over from close range.

With the result beyond doubt, a masterful Gutherson passing display sent Bankwest Stadium into a frenzy: debutant Sean Russell crossing in the left-corner not once but twice in a matter of minutes to close out the game.

Parramatta ultimately won the second-half 30-0, cruising to a 36-10 victory.

They were simply a class above, and moved into third place on the ladder.

FULL-TIME: Parramatta Eels 36 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 10

Injuries

Nathaniel Roache (Eels) – knee
Tuipulotu Katoa (Bulldogs) – failed HIA
Adam Elliott (Bulldogs) – cheekbone

Match Review Committee

Marata Niukore (Eels) – Grade 1 High Tackle Careless – Early Guilty Plea $2,150 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $2,850 fine.
Nathan Brown (Eels) – Grade 1 High Tackle Careless – Early Guilty Plea $2,150 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $2,850 fine.
Luke Thompson (Bulldogs) – Grade 1 Dangerous Contact Other – Early Guilty Plea $1,350 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $1,800 fine.

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