A double from the Eels’ young winger Bevan French at ANZ Stadium last night helped the beleaguered Parramatta team keep alive their hopes of a finals place.
A close first half saw the South Sydney Rabbitohs open the scoring with a 10th minute try to full-back Alex Johnston. Former Manly player Clinton Gutherson evened the score to 6-all soon after, then French gave the Eels a six-point margin that. Rabbitohs forward Nathan Brown scored three minutes before half-time to close the gap to 14-12.
Souths seemed to have run out of ideas and energy when the second half opened, allowing the Eels to run circles around them and keep the South Sydney side scoreless through the half. French scored his second in the 62nd minute but the highlight of the match was a stunning and brilliant run the length of the field by Semi Radradra in the 77th. Ill-discipline proved to be Souths’ downfall. They gave away far too many penalties, three of them within easy range of the posts. Michael Gordon was on top form, converting all three penalty attempts as well as all four Parramatta tries. Souths felt the absence of their Origin stars Greg Inglis and Adam Reynolds, whose boot was sorely missed. Sam Burgess tried hard but the forwards failed to follow his lead.
The Eels have a bye next week, and will need to make the most of the break: their next match-up is against competition leaders Cronulla who should be back to full strength 10 days after Origin 2.
Warriors pip the Roosters
The New Zealand Warriors beat the Sydney Roosters 12-10 at Mount Smart Stadium in a grinding match on Saturday night.
In the first half the Roosters looked the goods but ill-discipline and errors cost them. In the 20th minute, debutant Roosters winger Joseph Manu looked certain to score but Ken Maumalo held him back and was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul. Mitch Aubusson took full advantage of the undermanned Warriors team and went over to score for the Roosters a minute later. The Warriors’ only first half score was a penalty goal in the 27th minute. The teams went into the sheds at 4-2.
Issac Luke had a great game for Warriors and was hard to handle from dummy-half. That helped unsettle the Roosters, who gave away too many penalties in the second half. Luke took full advantage of that, putting the Warriors in front. In the 63rd minute Warriors half Shaun Johnson showed too much speed for the Roosters and got through from close range. The Roosters refused to give up though, fighting to the end. The returning Shaun Kenny Dowell, best on ground, combined with Jackson Hastings late in the game to put Connor Watson through for a try, but the Warriors closed ranks and held on for their third consecutive win.
Titans humble hapless Eagles
The Manly Sea Eagles’ woes continued at CBUS Stadium against the Titans on Monday night when they suffered their sixth consecutive loss, 10-30. Manly were missing Dylan Walker, Nate Myles, Daly Cherry Evans and Jamie Lyon (a late withdrawal) – and it didn’t help that Brett Stewart seemed to wish he were somewhere else.
The Titans were relentless from the start. Luke Douglas crossed for the Titans’ first in the 12th then Anthony Don and Josh Hoffman each crossed before the 21st minute. Jorge Taufua prevented a rout by scoring for Manly in the 29th, but a penalty goal slotted by Tyrone Roberts for the Titans took the half-time score to 18-6.
The second half opened with what must have been the softest try of the year when Ryan James pretty much walked through the defence to score. Manly made amends with a try from Brayden Wiliame but were unable to close the gap further. The Titans sealed the win in the 73rd minute when Nene McDonald went over and Roberts converted. – Jesse Mullens
St George Illawarra Dragons 20 – 10 Melbourne Storm
Photo shows Sam Burgess struggling to break free of a determined Eels defence. NRL photo by Grant Trouville from South’s club website.