Eels slay Dragons 25-12 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels slay Dragons 25-12

By Samantha Broun 13/09/2009 11:54:55 PM Comments (0)

For once, it wasn't all about Jarryd Hayne.

While the Dally M winner did provide the sparkle in Parramatta's amazing NRL qualifying final upset of minor premiers St George Illawarra, coach Daniel Anderson instead credited the Eels' impenetrable defence for the 25-12 win that kept their title dreams alive.

The eighth-placed Eels were pinned to their own goal line for much of the opening 20 minutes by a pumped up Dragons side who had everything go their way in the searing heat at a packed WIN Jubilee Oval.

But, unlike nine days earlier when they crumbled to a 37-0 defeat to the Dragons, this time the Eels defence diffused each charge.

Set after set the Dragons attacked until finally, after coming up empty-handed several times, five-eighth Soward elected to kick a penalty goal to get some points on the board.

Eels coach Daniel Anderson said that moment was a real fillip for his side.

"Obviously once you (hold them out) a few times you build confidence," Anderson said.

"You feel that yes, you can withstand what can be thrown at you for the rest of the game.

"These are the good days to be a coach. It was extremely satisfying as far as the reward for the players. I'm really happy for them. It was a pretty daunting hostile venue to come to and our defence was just brilliant."

Eels captain Nathan Cayless was impressed with the collective resilience shown by his team under immense early pressure.

"I think most of us were delirious, the amount of tackles that we had to make and just hang in there," Cayless said.

"I think it might have been a bit of a blessing for us that they did take the two (points), then we got a bit of a breather."

What happened next stunned everybody, as the Eels hit back with two tries in five minutes through Luke Burt and Daniel Mortimer and eventually led 12-8 at half-time.

Dragons coach Wayne Bennett was obviously disappointed with his side's loss.

"They outplayed us, we weren't too far off but they were very good," Bennett said.

"You don't necessarily need to score in those early periods with in the game, we were playing well, we were doing a lot of things right.

"We had a couple of opportunities but we just didn't grab them and they came down the field once, put a ball in the air, and there's six points."

The 50-point turnaround from last week's loss is made even more stunning by the fact Parramatta became just the second eighth-placed team under the McIntyre finals system to run down the minor premiers in as many years.

Fullback Burt booted a field goal in the dying minutes to put the game beyond a converted try (19-12) before Hayne sidestepped seven defenders to score superb individual try in front of 18,174 fans.

The victory puts Parramatta firmly into the premiership running, they will host notoriously poor travellers the Gold Coast in a sudden death semi-final at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday.

The Dragons meanwhile face a familiar foe in Bennett's former club Brisbane next Saturday at Suncorp Stadium.

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