The Eels are unchanged from 1-17 today as they take on a perennial powerhouse in the Holden Cup – the Brisbane Broncos.
Dyldam Parramatta Eels Holden Cup side
1. Mason Cerruto
2. Atini Gafa
3. Tyrell Fuimaono
4. Dane Aukafolau
5. Jermaine Mati-Leifi
6. Michael Doolan
7. Troy Dargan
8. Alex Twal
9. Denzal Tonise (c)
10. Tom Amone
11. Jack Morris
12. Tom Field
13. Craig Field
14. Matthew Price
15. Jamie Stowers
16. Jonathan Mose
17. Kurt De Luis
It is still quite warm out at Pirtek Stadium, will be tough playing conditions for the young boys.
The Eels will be kicking off and running towards the Peter Sterling Terrace to get the season underway. Simple stuff from the Broncos in their first set as they ruck it out to half way and then bomb it on the last. Maiti-Lefi has a clean first touch and meets the defensive line to get Parra underway. That is where all the good ends as the Eels then cough it up via Mason Cerruto I believe. Broncos with a huge chance now.
Brisbane test our left edge early on before swinging back to the posts. Late in their set they set up for a raid our right edge with a short ball to their backrower but we hold him out. Bit of luck on the following play…Brisbane grubber in behind and Cerruto spills it. They recover and plant it down but the chasers were offside! Phew.
Er, what was that? Tom Field gets up dusty from a run late in the set and plays the ball at a 45 degree angle and the ref quickly calls it up. Bizarre stuff. Field stretches out his right calf afterwards, maybe the reason behind the error? Regardless, Brisbane will have the ball from a scrum.
Great shot from Alex Twal there! Vicious step in to jolt the ball loose early in the defensive set. Fuimaono and Gafa have good carries early on before Dargan calls for a shift down the left edge. Brisbane mark up well and go man-to-man with Cerruto chiming in from the back and alas, Mason comes up with an error as he gets up to play the ball. Plenty of soft errors here.
Oh wow, tight end! Parra have won the ball against the feed. Twal and Amone power towards the line as we take it down the right. Dargan cuts out Auckafolau to give early ball to Maiti-Leifi but he has to come back in field and take the tackle. The same trick works two tackles later though! Dargan goes back to Maiti-Leifi who beats his opposite to barely plant the ball in the corner!
Try scored by Maiti-Leifi. Conversion from Doolan is unsuccessful.
Parra lead Brisbane 4-0
Kurt De Luis has the first charge on the kick off set and the Eels do well to get the ball into Brisbane’s half with a couple of tackles to spare. Good carry from Jack Morris there sets up the Eels for an attacking on the last. The Eels look to the skies and will bomb the right-edge of the Broncos where an excellent chase from Maiti-Leifi is rewarded immediately as he plucks the ball out of the hands of the Brisbane custodian and races in goals to complete an early brace of tries!
Try scored by Maiti-Leifi. Conversion from Doolan is successful.
Parra lead Brisbane 10-0
De Luis with the first carry again. Gafa and Fuimaono come infield to help their forwards but a tackle later after their hit ups the Eels lose possession as Dargan looks to work the Brisbane park around with some short passes. Good idea but the execution was just off.
Brisbane quickly repay the favour though, dropping the ball cold as they come into our half!
The ball ends up with Auckafolau from the scrum win. Morris has the next carry but on the third tackle Tonise gets sloppy from the play the ball and throws a forward pass that is immediately called up. Hahaha! And again the Broncos give us the ball right back! Think that was a good shot from Auckafolau that forced the ball out.
Nice run and offload from Tyrell there as he sets Gafa off for some extra metres from the first tackle. Twal crashes into the defensive line on the next tackle and then the Eels look for a lightning quick shift down the left. Dargan is calling all the shots today and he kicks in behind early! Pin point chip kick for Maiti-Leifi who gladly accepts the kick and scores in the corner. Hat trick!
Try scored by Maiti-Leifi. Conversion from Doolan is unsuccessful.
Parra lead Brisbane 14-0
Geez, more errors from Parra. This time Fuimaono is the culprit. Parra then give up an error for a high shot and then a second penalty for slowing the ruck down. Great chance for Brisbane to get back into the game here.
The Eels read the sweep play down their left edge very well and jam the sweeper hard. Good defence. Brisbane get a bit antsy on the following play, looking to work a fake sweep around the posts and lose the ball on a poor pass.
Far out. Another error from dummy half. We have either been excellent or terrible so far this half! Finally Brisbane make us pay. Fuimaono gets beaten on the first tackle attempt out wide on the right and although he has his man on the second effort, Gafa took the temptation to come in which opens up a simple pass for the Brisbane winger to score. Gafa just needed to stay out there.
Try to the left winger for the Broncos. Conversion from their five-eighth is successful.
Brisbane trail Parra 6-14
The flow of errors continues as both teams look to shake off the pre-season rust. Brisbane the culprits this time as a lazy pass is caught by the refs. Parra have a great chance to hit back.
Cerruto and Morris get early carries. Twal has a run towards the posts and manages to offload to Amone who in turn earns a penalty in the ruck. The Eels quickly elect to have a shot at the goals, looking to secure a rather odd 10-point lead.
Penalty attempt from Doolan is successful.
Parra lead Brisbane 16-6
De Luis chalks up another carry and is followed by Tonise and Twal who churn up the metres! Terrific set this time around. Tonise gets a second touch at the endo f the set and earns a penalty as he catches a couple of defenders off side! Tremendous effort from the newly installed captain! The Eels once again point to the uprights, this time looking to secure a maximum two score lead.
Penalty attempt from Doolan is successful.
Parra lead Brisbane 18-6
Oh geez, the comedy of errors continues as the Eels bungle the kick off in goals and concede a line drop out. That should have been a penalty on half way but we made a right mess of it.
The visitors make us pay straight away. Fuimaono is caught inside his opposite and drags Gafa in as a result, opening up the 2-on-1 on the sideline. Brisbane capitalise on the chance, cutting out to their winger who beats Gafa and then turns the ball back inside to a support runner to score.
Try to the Broncos. Conversion from their five-eighth is successful.
Brisbane trail Parra 12-18
A couple of dubious passes from the Broncos this set. The officials overlook them and they get into our half for a semi-attacking kick. Cerruto is there to clean it up, not without a bobble or two, and the Eels get underway as they look to work it out. Twal stands tall in contact midway through the tackle count and looks to offload to Tonise. Tonise misses it on first attempt and Brisbane look to contest the loose pill but lose it forwards.
Tom Field is used from the scrum win. Fuimaono is up next as the Eels come right before De Luis centres it. Dargan runs it down the left and is taken at the line but the Broncos get caught out reefing the ball lose. Penalty to the Eels.
Awesome carry from Morris there! Slices past the first defender and threatens the try line! The Broncos barely hold on and Tonise tries to barge over on the next tackle but is held up. The Eels put pressure on the left edge of the Broncos before coming back to their left Auckafolau gets some early ball and just storms past his opposite after stepping back to the posts. Makes you wonder why we took two penalty shots?
Try scored by Auckafolau. Conversion from Doolan is unsuccessful.
Parra lead Brisbane 22-12
Kurt De Luis has the kick off return honours once more and has a solid run.Fuimaono and Twal are up next before Dargan sets up for a quick 40/20! The ball breaks for the sideline and gets a Brisbane touch! What a play from the young half.
Parra look dangerous down the left but Brisbane barely hold on. Twal looks to power over with seconds on the clock but is held up and Parra get one more play. And who else could it be? Troy Dargan blitzes past the defensive line after running to it with a bucketful of intent! Dargan has owned the first half of this game.
Try scored by Dargan. Conversion from Maiti-Leifi is unsuccessful.
Parra lead Brisbane 26-12
Parra will receive the ball from the kick off in the second stanza. Once more De Luis is called upon for the kickoff return. Gafa has a strong carry to follow jim and Twal is third up. Amone earns a penalty after a sharp carry of his own.
Some loose ball work early in the set but Parra retain possession. Dargan plays with real speed to the line and nearly puts Morris between a couple of defenders. Good defence keeps him out. We complete out set with a stab grubber from Dargan but it is far too heavy off the boot and the Broncos will resume play from the 20m line.
Big metres for the visitors in the seven tackle set. They make a half break down our right edge but are pulled down in our red zone and their kick on the last is *just* too deep and nets the Eels a 20m restart of their own.
Excellent carry from Jonathan Mose there, who is fresh on the field. Parra got into the Brisbane redzone and earn a repeat set on the back of Doolan’s boot. Great reply set fro the young Eels.
Good defensive work from the Broncos early in this set. Jamie Stowers has a solid carry, as does Jack Morris down the left edge on the following tackle. Play comes unstuck for the Eels on the next tackle when a right edge shift falls apart due to a poor pass from Doolan. Hit his man far too late there, allowing the tackler to force it loose immediately.
Brisbane cough it up straight away, as seems to be the story of this game, so Parra get another chance! Hahaha, can’t even finish that sentence before we turn it BACK over. Silly offload there, offloading for the sake of it really and the Broncos pounce on it.
Another blatant forward pass is missed by the officials but the karmic forces of the universe exert their influence as the Broncos make an error on the next tackle. Parra scrum 10m out from their goal line.
Stowers is used first up and Dane Auckafolau follows him with a bustling carry. Maiti-Leifi and Mose round out the settlers before an early kick from Doolan very nearly nets a great result as he catches the fullback out. A rough bounce sees it roll dead though, tough luck on an otherwise heads up play.
Some luck there for the Eels! Brisbane made great progress upfield and their halfback catches our pack napping as he runs it back towards the ruck and then flick offloads to support. The support runner can’t hold on however and the Eels get the ball back. Bullet dodged for sure there.
Matt Price is on at hooker now and has a really nice run out of dummy half. The Eels set up for an attacking kick on the back of it and Dargan hoists it high. The Brisbane custodian never looked comfortable under it and sure enough, it spills loose from his grasp. A heads up chase from Cerruto nearly leads to try from the loose pill but with no advantage gained we come pack for a Parra scrum.
Brisbane concede a penalty midway through the goal line set so Parra will reset from a tap. Craif Field has the first carry. Stowers follows and is just short of the line. We swing it left on the third tackle but Cerruto looked a bit asleep there as Dargan looked to use him off his left hip and our fullback is pinged for a knock on.
Brisbane get on the front foot after we are done for holding down in the ruck. They resume play 10m into our half. They work our right edge over and generate a quick play the ball that leads to another penalty as we slow it down near our line. Oh geez, Brisbane are held out through some excellent last ditch defence after an offload and on the following play we have a chance to scoop up a loose pass but Dargan loses it forwards! Ouch that hurts.
Redemption comes quickly for our halfback though! A crunching tackle on his opposing playmaker sees the ball squirrel out. Parra scrum 10m out from their goal line. Unreal, once again before I can finish the sentence stating we have possession – we manage to turn it right back over!
And for the third time this game the Broncos score on the back of a red zone error from our young lads. This one was a bit more questionable compared to the first two, with more than a hint of a bounce in the grounding from the big #18…but without the benefit of television replays the referee points to the spot. We got caught sleeping on the inside there with a simple pass back to the big interchange forward proving to be enough to get over.
Try scored by #18. Conversion from the five-eighth is successful.
Brisbane trail Parra 18-26
The Broncos spring to life on the back of the first points of the second half and start to slip out of the odd tackle. Parra manage to hold firm and restrict the Broncos to a mid field kick, which we clean up on the bounce. Simple stuff from the Eels here as they ruck it out to half way and complete their set via an astute kick from Dargan who laces it between winger and fullback.
The Broncos come up with an error just outside their red zone working it out so Parra will have a chance to hit back. Tom Field asks a serious question of the defensive line and it takes a second attempt from the defenders to bring him down. Two tackles later the Eels get a penalty and will go on the all-out attack.
After sucking the Broncos in around the posts we try to catch them short out wide as Doolan links up with Dargan who in turn finds Maiti-Leifi. Maiti-Leifi has a hat trick to his name already but can’t add to it this time and even worse, he loses the ball getting up! Frustrating stuff on display here.
Hang on, Brisbane error now! Cerruto it looks like has come up with a big defensive play standing in the line from the scrum win. Better shape in attack here as we actually test the Broncos out down their right edge but they stand firm. We swing it back to the other edge but Cerruto loses his footing and is tackled to bring up the last. Our kick choice is poor on the final tackle and it rolls dead with plenty of room to spare.
Good effort in defence through the seven tackle set from our boys. Brisbane makes solid metres but don’t threaten the line and they complete their set by kicking it dead. Oooh, nice little play from Dargan and Auckafolau as our half turns our centre back in near the ruck and Dane nearly makes a bust. Much better kick to finish this set here as Doolan hits the upright and the Broncos look like they will start their set 5m out. Alas, the Eels then get pinged in defence so Brisbane march down field.
Can’t keep up here as Brisbane turn it over from a loose pass that is scooped up by an on point Tom Amone. Heads up play from the bookend there!
Parra roll down field and then get a late penalty. Surprisingly we don’t take a shot at the two points and Dane Auckafolau nearly loses the ball from the tap restart! My oh my. Awful set when all is said and done. A series of rubbish passes are barely held on to before we get one terrible pass too far and Doolan grasses it. Need to be way better than that. UNBELIEVABLE, Brisbane have now lost the ball. This game, folks…this bloody game!
Good run from Cerruto from the scrum win but he is eventually pulled down near the line. De Luis is used to centre the pill before Amone tries to crash over. He is held out but plays stops as it looks like a punch was thrown by a Bronco. Incredibly the offending Broncos stays on the field despite the no-punch rule but Parra get a penalty. We spend a lot of resources working it down our left edge but Brisbane are equal to the challenge. When the right-edge change up comes it is Cerruto who is the key man. He looks to kick in behind and gets a stray hand from a Brisbane defender. Fresh set for the Eels.
Tonise has a good carry but gets up from it slowly and time is called off. Eventually he finds his feet and we get back underway. Fuimaono throws off a couple of defenders down the right and offloads but we can’t do anything with the second phase ball. Dargan looks to shut the Broncos out of the game on the last as he runs it down the left-edge short side and looks to cut out Auckafolau for Maiti-Leifi but some stout defence from the Brisbane flanker forces our boy into touch. Brisbane then get a late penalty in their set to keep their slim hopes alive.
Deary me, more slack officiating here as a blatant forward pass is missed. Brisbane generate a stack of second phase play from it but we somehow hold them out at the last. Fuimaono then comes up with a bone jarring hit as Brisbane try to catch us short on the opposite edge. The Broncos look to have the last laugh this set though as their #10 carries several defenders over the line down our left edge but he loses it at the last! Holy moley! Maiti-Leifi scoops it up and races 30m down field.
Finally we piece together a composed set as we roll downfield and find touch with a long grubber. Excellent percentage footy.
Brisbane have a minute to make a dent in the two score lead and as they try to spin it wide they lose it down our left edge. Auckafolau picks it up after a messy exchange with more than a hint of a knock on from our boys and then runs 35m to score as the buzzer rings out!
Try scored by Auckafolau. Conversion from Doolan is successful.
Parramatta Eels 32 DEF Brisbane Broncos 18
Thanks 40/20. Great read again.
Seems like Dargan is tearing them up. How is the crowd? And are our forwards holding their own?
What is it with our teams turning their backs on the opposition thankfully it has not cost them points let alone the game.
I might be hard but, gee if I was coach I would pull any player that did that off straight away as a warning to them all.
Amazing work 40/20. Great read mate. Thank you for this champion.
Good effort boys. Great work 40/20. Thank you again.
Scrappy second half but you have to love a win.
Great call Forty. Can you confirm our edges look like this:
Sorry for not clarifying it during the call, mate. You have it spot on though. Really liked what I saw from Dargan today. Felt like he played to the line at a first-grade tempo, if you follow me. Most halves in the NYC tend to cruise to the line but he played fast and direct and forced the Broncos to make calls in defence at a disadvantage. Jack Morris was also very good. Robust player that gets through plenty of work on both sides of the ball and runs deceptively good lines. From my observation (flicking between game and laptop… Read more »
Yeah I was expecting to get smashed. Underage halves, no French, very few of these players performed last year, and the Broncos are always strong in this grade due to being able to fit a much better squad under the $200k cap. I doubt the Broncos have a poor team, so maybe we’ve unearthed some key talent? I’m glad Twal and Fuimaono played.
Dargan is a special talent. I saw highlights of him confidently setting up tries for the Australian Schoolboys team on their tour of the UK and France in 2014. He has all the skills, and had to beat off the challenge of preferred halves Jack Cogger and Brock Lamb to win his place in the starting side. Let’s not forget that he was directing the Eels attack in Harold Matts from age 14, and won two competitions in that grade as the team’s halfback. This raises an interesting predicament should his improvement as a player see him ready for NRL… Read more »
Chris, this is an interesting observation. I can guarantee that the club have a high opinion of him. He did have a bit of a run at NRL training during the pre-season ( I caught this on one of the days that I popped down to Saleyards). I think that he has the physique to handle NSW Cup. To be honest, I’m not a fan of NYC – from the perspective that real talent needs to move out of there as soon as their body is capable of taking the harder hits of adult footy. Bad habits are too easily… Read more »
I have a question for Forty too, given that he has covered their trials as well as this first up match. Is there a discernible difference in this team under the coaching of Luke Burt? Of course, it may be far too early to make such a call! Luke was brought into this position after a couple of years assisting BA – the aim being a unity of purpose in the development of players, especially in their attitude towards their preparation and performance. I’d imagine that the players would get hammered for any moments of switching off and that places… Read more »
Good report as always 40/20. Sounds like a good match spoilt as became a dropathon particularly in second half.