Eels post amazing NRL win over Warriors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels post amazing NRL win over Warriors

By Todd Balym 07/09/2007 10:16:19 PM Comments (0)

A heroic try-saving tackle by two of Parramatta's best players and another on one leg was the catalyst for an amazing 12-10 NRL qualifying final victory over the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium.

Trailing 4-0, the Eels repelled six successive sets and 23 consecutive tackles on their own line to deflate the home side in front of 28,745 fans.

Warriors backrower Logan Swann had a certain try in his sights in the 56th minute, but a big bump by Eric Grothe followed by a desperate tackle by Eels captain Nathan Cayless, five-eighth Brett Finch and injured centre Ben Smith was enough to hold Swann up and swing the momentum back to the visitors.

In a game which was scoreless at halftime with committed defence leading the way, Swann simply had to score.

It probably would have been enough for a match-winning lead.

Instead, Parramatta seized the moment and the turning point.

"We just had to tackle him, there was no question about it," said Cayless.

"They would have got to 10-0 up and it would have been pretty tough to pull them back with a big crowd here tonight.

"We just had to commit, we knew that was a definite turning point and it turned out to be that way."

The Eels lifted and with two tries from kicks to Feleti Mateo (64th minute) and Jarryd Hayne (70th minute) Parramatta had a 12-4 match-winning lead.

Not even a 77th-minute penalty try to the Warriors, awarded by video referee Bill Harrigan because Eels replacement Chad Robinson tackled Michael Witt early to prevent a certain four-pointer, could unsettle the courageous visitors.

Eels coach Michael Hagan praised his entire team, but particularly Smith for standing tall despite a lateral ligament knee injury in what could turn out to be his last play of 2007.

"He was really courageous there and jumped up and saved a try for sure there on our line," Hagan said.

"The fact the players kept turning up and working hard for each other was a pleasing sign for the team.

"I don't know about the premiership but I know it's going to require that type of attitude over the coming weeks."

Warriors captain Steve Price said his side were guilty of not converting their opportunities.

"The difference between the two teams was we just missed a couple of opportunities and the opportunities that they got they nailed," he said.

The win secures Parramatta a home final, most likely next week.

But they could earn a free passage into the preliminary finals if there are two upsets in the remaining three qualifying finals this weekend which would subsequently eliminate the Warriors from the finals race.

Eels forward Nathan Hindmarsh, celebrating his 28th birthday, says he wants to play again next week so Parramatta can continue building momentum for their premiership charge.

"The way we're probably going now I'd like to keep our momentum going with a game each week," Hindmarsh said.

"It was a grinder and I think we'd rather play a hard game than blow them out of the water. It keeps everyone on their toes for the finals."

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