Smith rekindles old Eels magic - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith rekindles old Eels magic

By Steve Jancetic And Todd Balym 13/04/2007 11:00:09 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta halfback Tim Smith has rediscovered his mojo to fire the Eels to their third straight NRL win, 27-14 over western Sydney rivals Penrith at CUA Stadium.

Having started the season slowly Smith was back to his best, playing a hand in all four of his side's tries with Luke Burt the main beneficiary.

The fullback finished with a personal tally of 18 points from two tries and five goals, and had another touchdown disallowed by the video referee.

The Eels started strongly before losing their way and allowing the Panthers to take a 12-8 lead.

Smith, though, got his one-man show going again when he sent Nathan Hindmarsh over courtesy of a slick inside ball. It gave the Eels a 14-12 halftime lead, with the visitors going on with the job in the second half.

"I'm starting to see things a little bit better at the moment which is good, my vision has been down a bit I think," Smith said.

"When you play halfback you've got to have good peripheral vision and I think it's starting to come back now.

"It's something I need to do and once that starts happening I can put the ball where it needs to be and hopefully I can get some tries.

"Maturity is a big thing, I'm still only 22.

"It's coming, it's only two games that I've played half decent in so I've still got a long way to go."

So too have the Panthers following a display which left coach Matthew Elliott shaking his head.

Having performed so strongly in back-to-back wins over heavyweights Brisbane and the Bulldogs, the Panthers have come crashing back to earth with consecutive home losses to the Gold Coast and the Eels.

"We're making errors at crucial times when we've got teams under some pressure. A bit of personal accountability at crucial times," Elliott said.

"The frustrating thing is I know what this team's capable of doing and coaches by nature aren't patient people.

"(Parramatta) made errors and they made them on play six - we made errors and we made on plays one, two and three. The game doesn't work that way."

While Smith was the architect, Eels forward Ian Hindmarsh was the hero of the night.

Burt broke a 14-all deadlock with his second try midway through the second half.

Hindmarsh, brother of Test backrower Nathan, then sealed the game when he potted an unlikely left-foot field goal for a 21-14 Eels lead.

For good measure, the former Canberra and Les Catalans forward then finished off a strong game with a try in the dying stages.

The Eels set the mood from the opening tackle when a Timana Tahu shoulder charge flattened Panthers prop Frank Puletua.

Both teams got on the board via a pair of soft penalties before a Smith long ball saw the Eels go 70 metres for Burt to score his first of the night.

Burt almost had another only to be denied by the video referee for failing to ground the ball properly.

The call proved a crucial one as the Panthers hit back through tries to Rhys Wesser and Michael Gordon.

Having lost their composure, the Eels worked their way back into the game with Fuifui Moimoi's impact off the bench telling.

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