Eels avoid NRL wooden spoon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels avoid NRL wooden spoon

Laine Clark 03/09/2011 11:10:34 PM Comments (0)

The night was supposed to be about retiring Gold Coast veteran Preston Campbell.

But it became the Jarryd Hayne Show as Parramatta avoided receiving the wooden spoon for the first time since 1972 by thrashing the Titans 32-12 at Skilled Park on Saturday night.

Hayne scored a remarkable 103m try and had a hand in five others to deny Campbell the fond farewell he craved after drawing the curtain on his 267-game, 14-year career.

Adding further insult, the loss will almost certainly relegate the Titans to last place - the first time a Gold Coast side has collected the spoon since the Seagulls in 1993.

The stage was set for an emotional night for the hosts after the 18,265-strong crowd was treated to a pre-match tribute on the big screen to nine departing Titans - including four foundation players.

But the retiring Campbell was the name on everyone's lips as he led out the Titans for the last time - that was until Hayne cut loose.

Parramatta led 22-0 at halftime after Hayne set up three tries - including a double to winger Ryan Morgan - but the highlight was his stunning 11th minute effort.

Campbell looked set to score in the lead-up before throwing a desperate pass on the try-line, ricocheting off a player and lobbing in Hayne's hands in the in-goal area.

From a standing start, Hayne cut through the Titans and set sail down the left sideline to score despite a looming David Mead.

Hayne picked up where he left off in the second half, setting up two Ben Smith tries in three minutes with kicks to blow the score out to 32-0 by the 48th minute.

The Titans did not get on the board until the 69th minute when Luke O'Dwyer scored - converted by Campbell.

Mead then scored on the stroke of fulltime with departing Titan Anthony Laffranchi converting - as they crashed to a fourth straight loss.

The win finally snapped a seven game losing streak by the unlucky Eels, who featured in the NRL grand final just two years ago.

Their lean run included three one-point losses in golden-point extra-time.

Titans veteran Luke Bailey said he could not look Campbell in the eyes after the game, calling their effort "disgusting".

Gold Coast coach John Cartwright admitted it "couldn't get worse than tonight".

"Sometimes people don't get what they deserve," Cartwright said of his departing players.

But Campbell was still able to manage a smile when he and fellow departing foundation players Laffranchi (England), Nathan Friend (Warriors), and Brad Meyers (retirement) were hailed at a post-match presentation.

"It has been a frustrating year but I have enjoyed every minute, that may seem hard to understand but that's me," Campbell said.

"And I will use the wooden spoon to stir my porridge, I love porridge."

Eels captain Nathan Hindmarsh admitted he had never been so nervous than before the wooden spoon play-off.

"There's a big gap between last and second last, let me tell you," he said.

"The wooden spoon is something I have been dreading for the last few weeks now."

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