Eels back on track after beating Tigers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels back on track after beating Tigers

By Steve Jancetic 21/04/2006 09:48:25 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta got its NRL season back on track with a morale-boosting 28-16 win over reigning premiers Wests Tigers at Parramatta Stadium.

Down 16-14 after a two-try burst early in the second half, the Eels powered home with two late tries of their own to secure just their second win of the season against an under-strength Tigers side without inspirational playmaker Benji Marshall and skipper Brett Hodgson.

After two weeks of crisis talks and player meetings, the home side came out fired up for what was a must win game if the Eels were to stay in touch with the top eight.

Their aggression was almost undone when with an early try to the Tigers, only for Jamaal Lolesi to put his foot on the dead ball line as he touched down on a Scott Prince chip kick.

The Eels made the Tigers pay for the missed opportunity, with Timana Tahu capitalising on a Chris Heighington knock-on inside his own half to put the home side in the lead in just the sixth minute.

They doubled their lead soon after with Chad Robinson crashing through a limp effort by Daniel Fitzhenry before a silly error by debutant Eels pivot Jeremy Smith, penalised while in possession for pushing the marker on his own 20m line, invited the visitors back into the match.

It was an chance they gleefully accepted, young centre Dean Collis showing good strength to go over out wide, with Prince's conversion making it 12-6 after 20 minutes.

A Brett Delaney penalty goal extended Parramatta's lead before stand-in Tigers custodian Shannon McDonnell did well to deny Tahu another try, reining in the flying centre following a long run downfield.

The second half got off to a poor start for the Eels with Justin Tsoulos taken from the field with a dislocated shoulder, but it suddenly got a whole lot worse for the home side with the Tigers running in tries to Paul Whatuira and McDonnell within the space of three minutes to take a 16-14 lead.

When replacement forward Zeb Taia was placed on report for a swinging arm on Ben Galea it looked as though nothing would stop the Tigers' charge before skipper Nathan Cayless, restored to the starting line-up after four weeks on the interchange, put halfback Tim Smith over next to the posts to restore the Eels' lead.

Then in what proved to be a decisive call, video referee Graeme West denied McDonnell a second try, ruling he knocked on as he pounced on a Prince grubber in the Eels in-goal.

The 20,141-strong crowd was rocking three minutes later when Glenn Morrison ran through Fitzhenry like he wasn't even there, Delaney's conversion making it 26-16 before he added another late penalty goal.

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