Eels show they mean business in NRL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels show they mean business in NRL

By Daniel Pace 08/05/2005 09:06:45 PM Comments (0)

Only a month after being handed a football lesson by NRL leader Brisbane, Parramatta has dished out some punishment of its own to signal the Eels mean business.

Missing four key players who failed to back up from Friday night's City-Country match, the Eels smashed North Queensland 50-12 at Parramatta Stadium to move into the top eight.

The Broncos notched their fifth straight win - a 35-28 triumph over the Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium - to share the competition lead with Cronulla, Manly and Canberra.

St George Illawarra proved it was back with a 42-10 victory over Souths at WIN Stadium on Saturday night, with centres Mark Gasnier and Matt Cooper doing the damage after controversially being ruled out of City-Country with injuries.

But it was the Eels and Canberra Raiders who impressed most in round nine of the competition.

The Eels were missing marquee players Timana Tahu, Mark Riddell, Eric Grothe and Paul Stringer but still managed to whip an in-form Cowboys outfit, searching for their fourth straight victory.

Parramatta coach Brian Smith said his decision to stand down those players was a gamble - one which paid off handsomely as rookie halfback Tim Smith stamped his class on the match.

"It's not easy to leave players of that quality out, particularly if they're ready to play," said Smith.

"It was a sign of a respect for the way the Cowboys have been playing that we thought we just could not go with anyone that was going to run out of energy on the day."

Cowboys skipper Paul Rauhihi said he was confident his players would bounce back on Saturday night when they face the might of the Broncos in Townsville.

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