Mateo puts stamp on Eels finals journey - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mateo puts stamp on Eels finals journey

By Adrian Warren 18/09/2009 09:50:42 PM Comments (0)

Enigmatic Feleti Mateo needed just eight minutes to put his stamp on Parramatta's NRL finals clash with Gold Coast and end his personal six-month try drought.

The extravagantly gifted lock/five-eighth helped the electric Eels overcome the early loss of boom youngster Daniel Mortimer.

Used almost exclusively as a second-half impact player off the bench in his first four games back form a bicep injury, Mateo was called into action after just 12 minutes of the semi-final at Sydney Football Stadium.

With much lauded five-eighth Mortimer forced off by a hip injury and Parramatta trailing 2-0, Mateo soothed some early Parramatta nerves.

The 25-year-old replacement, who spent just over three months out of first grade, crashed through an Anthony Laffranchi tackle to give Parramatta a 20th minute lead they never looked like relinquishing.

It was just his second try in 14 games this season and his first in six months since the round two clash with Souths.

So often the Eels talisman in 2008, the Tongan World Cup representative has had to settle for a bit part under new Parramatta coach Daniel Anderson.

Mateo hardly endeared himself to Anderson last week when he threw an ill-judged pass and was replaced shortly after, though the coach said he was always planning to make the change.

Also standing up in Mortimer's absence was another playmaker, halfback Jeff Robson, who has unobtrusively but effectively filled the spot since Brett Finch's early season move to Melbourne.

A perfectly placed Robson bomb in the 34th minute set up a try for secondrower Ben Smith, his first of the season.

Parramatta's two second half four-pointers were also scored by players who were unfamiliar with crossing the stripe this year.

Hooker Kevin Kingston and centre-wing Jonathan Wright notched their second and first tries of the campaign, respectively.

Strangely, none of Parramatta's four double-digit scorers this year found their way across the line, perhaps emphasising the red hot Eels aren't relying on scintillating fullback Jarryd Hayne and his speedy backline chums.

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