Matt Pritchard reviews Parramatta Eels win over the Gold Coast Titans at CBUS Stadium.
Gold Coast Titans 20
Tries: Phillip Sami (51), Erin Clark (59), David Fifita (66), Greg Marzhew (74)
Goals: Toby Sexton 2 (61, 68)
Parramatta Eels 26
Tries: Clint Gutherson 2 (18, 32), Bailey Simonsson (25), Ryan Matterson (46), Dylan Brown (71)
Goals: Mitch Moses 3 (33, 47, 72)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The Parramatta Eels dominated the opening exchanges, but the Titans did well to defend their line.
A stalemate developed between the two sides before the Titans squandered a perfect opportunity to open the scoring with Toby Sexton’s perfect kick in goal unable to be grounded by AJ Brimson.
The Eels in the next phase of play won a six again call which resulted in a score after Mitch Moses found Clint Gutherson on his outside to cross the stripe.
Parramatta continued to make inroads and Moses broke the Titans defence but found Corey Thompson who snuffed out a second try. It wouldn’t be too long until the Eels went ahead by eight with Bailey Simonsson finishing off a neat backline move.
Referee Peter Gough went upstairs to check whether Jarrod Wallace grounded the ball ahead of Gutherson from Moses’ kick. The green light was given to the Eels skipper, and they extended the lead to fourteen points with Moses’ first successful conversion of the night.
It was a well-deserved lead for the Eels at the break, but they’d be without Waqa Blake for the second forty after leaving the field with a left knee problem.
HALF-TIME: Gold Coast Titans 0 Parramatta Eels 14Embed from Getty Images
The Eels continued to dominate in the early stages of the second half and off the back of a Titans error scored first through Ryan Matterson after seven minutes.
The first of several contentious moments happened ten minutes in when the Gold Coast Titans rolled the dice by challenging a lost ball call near the Eels line, deliberately giving away a penalty which would have resulted in Brimson being sent to the sin bin if deemed unsuccessful.
The challenge was overturned upon review. As a result, the home side finally got over the line in the following set with Brimson’s kick in goal finding Phillip Sami for the score.
On the hour, the Titans once more sailed the wind by committing a penalty through Patrick Herbert to challenge a decision in a similar field position to the last one.
The challenge again was successful after it was deemed Herbert was held back. Once again, the Titans at the end of the set kicked in goal through Brimson which was grounded by Erin Clark for their second try.
The game reached boiling point after Joseph Paulo’s shoulder contacted Brimson, which saw the Eels prop placed on report and sent to the sin bin with seventeen minutes to go. Incredibly, Brimson remained on the field despite staying down for a period.
Parramatta started to lose their way, rattled by the two captain challenge calls and Paulo’s sin bin. Their dominance had grinded to a stop.
David Fifita turned the game on its head after running out of dummy half from forty metres out and breaking tackle after tackle to score in the corner. Sexton’s conversion moved the Titans within four points of the lead with eleven minutes remaining.
Could the inevitable happen with the Titans coming from twenty points down to snatch victory?
The Eels thought they answered that soon after through Dylan Brown scoring off Moses’ kick which was fumbled by the Titans on their goal line. With seven minutes to go the Eels had a ten-point buffer.
Greg Marzhew kept the Titans in with a chance burrowing his way to the line, but Sexton’s conversion hit the uprights leaving the margin at six points with four to go.
It was the Titans who had thirty seconds to level scores but Brimson’s kick through was gathered in by the Eels to conclude an exciting and at times controversial encounter.
FULL-TIME: Gold Coast Titans 20 Parramatta Eels 26
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Mitch Moses (Eels), 2 pts – AJ Brimson (Titans), 1 pt – Clint Gutherson (Eels)
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