New-look Parramatta tame the Tigers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

New-look Parramatta tame the Tigers

Ian McCullough 08/07/2011 11:49:22 PM Comments (0)

A rejuvenated Parramatta, inspired by a new combination of Luke Burt at fullback and Jarryd Hayne at five-eighth, saw off an under-par Wests Tigers 22-6 at a raucous Parramatta Stadium on Friday night.

Eels coach Stephen Kearney made the surprise decision to start Hayne in the halves and move Burt from the wing to fullback after Jeff Robson failed a late fitness test on a hamstring injury and the decision paid dividends in front of a crowd of 19,654.

Hayne started the first four games of the 2009 season in the No.6 shirt, with mixed results, but the NSW star looked confident in the playmaker position, with veteran Burt enjoying a tremendous game in the custodian role.

The 2009 Daly M Medallist Hayne created the opening try of the game with a superb popped pass to Jordan Atkins in the 10th minute, holding off three Tigers players just metres from the line, and the winger strolled over.

The visitors, who recalled Benji Marshall following a knee injury and welcomed back centre Chris Lawrence following a dislocated hip sustained in round three against Canberra, responded positively but were let down by some poor handling.

Parramatta were fortunate to go into halftime in the lead, when Marshall's pinpoint grubber-kick bounced into the post with the onrushing Wade McKinnon certain to score.

The Tigers came racing out of the blocks in the second half, with Marshall and Robert Lui starting strongly, but the Eels, looking for their first win since round 11, showed great character in defence to keep the visitors at arms' length.

Marshall almost levelled the scores from a 70-metre run, with the Tigers turning defence into attack after Burt was held up just short on the line at the other end of the field.

Tigers workhorse Chris Heighington made the bust, and freed the Kiwi superstar, but veteran centre Ben Smith made up the ground brilliantly to force Marshall into touch, centimetres from the line.

The tackle appeared to galvanise the Eels, with Burt adding a penalty to stretch his side's lead. Shortly after Reni Maitua ran from dummy-half for his first try for the Eels in the 54th minute, on the back of a Hayne downfield kick bouncing off the left upright and Burt pulling off a clever one-on-one strip.

Ryan Morgan made the game safe for the Eels 19 minutes from time when he touched down a magical Burt grubber, which had bisected the Tigers defence.

Lui grabbed a consolation four-pointer for Tim Sheens' side, with Marshall adding the extras, but it was Burt who had the last word with a penalty in the dying seconds to give Parramatta their first win on a Friday night in 2011.

Kearney said he made the decision to switch Burt and Hayne midweek but was unsure if he would continue with the move when Robson recovers.

"I think he (Hayne) went OK, he didn't train with the side all week, I think it was helped by the performance of Luke Burt at the back, he gave Jarryd the opportunity to play with the ball," he said.

"I am not sure at this stage; we will see how the troops pull up over the next few days.

"I thought Luke was really good last week at fullback, but it is a case of what serves the group best."

Sheens pulled no punches about his side's performance and said they were undone by a number of errors.

"You are never going to win games of football with a less than 50 per cent completions; I don't think we have played as bad in a game and stayed in the game as long as we did," Sheens said.

"There was no luck there for us, but at the same time we are not creating enough pressure to create opportunities ... our finish was poor."

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