2021 NRL Round 23, Eels 32 Cowboys 16 – Report

Brendan Wood reviews the Parramatta Eels 32-16 win over the North Queensland Cowboys. Here’s how the game went.


Eels 32

Tries: Waqa Blake (6) Will Penisini (14) Shaun Lane (30) Will Smith (57) Clint Gutherson (60) Dylan Brown (75)

Goals: Clint Gutherson (31, 58, 61, 76)

Cowboys 16

Tries: Heilum Luki (24) Laitia Moceidreke (63), Jake Granville (73)

Goals: Valentine Holmes (26, 74)

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Mitchell Moses (Parramatta Eels)
2 pts – Dylan Brown (Parramatta Eels)
1 pt – Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (North Queensland Cowboys)


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1st Half

Coming off the back of four straight losses, the Eels needed to start well and they did just that. They found first points when Maika Sivo and Waqa Blake combined down the left sideline for Blake to score.

Following on from their first try, Mitchell Moses dummied and broke through the Cowboys defense. He drew Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow across and passed inside for Will Penisini to score.

Not long after their second try, the Eels were the beneficiaries of a poor kick from Tom Dearden. However Junior Paulo threw a pass over the sideline on the next play.

After being let off the hook, the Cowboys worked their way into field position and forced several repeat sets. On the third repeat set Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow looked to have scored, however the bunker found he had knocked-on in the process.

As the Eels worked the ball away from their own line, Maika Sivo made an error and went down with an apparent knee injury in the same play. In response, the Cowboys found their first points.

Mitch Dunn went to the line and threw a short ball for Heilum Luki to crash over from short range.

With the score sitting at 8-6, the Eels received a penalty when Valentine Holmes pushed Joey Lussick in the back battling for a loose ball. On the attack again, the Eels got their third try when Mitchell Moses put Shaun Lane through a gaping hole close to the line.

The Eels had another crack at the Cowboys before the break, but they couldn’t execute to add to their lead.

HALF-TIME: Parramatta Eels 14 North Queensland Cowboys 6

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2nd Half

It was a scrappy start to the second half for both sides with neither able to maintain possession long enough to make an impact on the scoreboard.

The Eels eventually gained the upper hand off the back of Mitchell Moses’ kicking game. After forcing several line drop-outs, Moses kicked across field and Daejarn Asi knocked-on. Junior Paulo cleaned up the scraps and passed to Will Smith who crossed for a try.

In the following set, the Eels made a break and had the Cowboys scrambling. Mitchell Moses threw a cut-out to Haze Dunster, who chipped a kick back in-field for Clint Gutherson to regather and score under the posts.

Despite falling behind on the scoreboard, the Cowboys found a spark in attack. A flick pass from Jeremiah Nanai helped setup a try on debut for Laitia Moceidreke.

Inside the final 10 minutes, the Cowboys wouldn’t die wondering. A late offload from Francis Molo put Mitch Dunn into space. He chipped a kick ahead for Jake Granville who regathered and scored to give the Cowboys a sniff.

However, whatever chances the Cowboys had were soon snuffed out as Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow spilt a bomb from Mitchell Moses. Dylan Brown cleaned up the loose ball and crossed for a try to clinch the result for the Eels.

FULL-TIME: Parramatta Eels 32 North Queensland Cowboys 16

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Maika Sivo – knee

Match Review Committee

to be advised

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