After kicking off the District Representatives in the distant reaches of Canberra, the juniors now return in full force to Ringrose Oval to face a traditional rival in the grade – the Cronulla Sharks. While the Eels notched a win in the Harold Matthews in Round 1, the SG Ball fell to the Raiders and will be looking to ignite their campaign with a strong win over the boys from the Shire.
The Tarsha Gale is currently underway against the Sydney Roosters but I won’t be on hand until the Harold Matthews kicks off at 11:30AM, which will then be followed by the SG Ball at 1:00PM.
Be sure to tune in then and as always, drop a comment below to talk about the juniors or anything Parra related!
|#||Parramatta Eels||Cronulla Sharks|
|1||Patrick Spence||Siteni Taukamo ©|
|2||Suliasi Aho||Tyrell Fakaua|
|3||Poutoa Hotere-Papalii||Talanoa Penitani|
|4||Declan Murray||Koby Douglass|
|5||Josh Lealaiauloto||Harrison Hood|
|6||Charlie Guymer ©||Oliver Townsend|
|7||Ethan Sanders||Max Demeio|
|8||Sam Tuivati||Zane Watson|
|9||Yehya Ayache||Taj Brailey|
|10||Genesis Talagi Seuala||Lachlan Crossle|
|11||Domenico De Stradis||Lawson Cotter|
|12||Joshua Alhazim||Luke Raymond|
|13||Myles Martin||Billy Dickens|
|14||Terrence Lafai||Osca Catton|
|15||Movete Otoota||Lachlan Araullo|
|16||Saxon Pryke||Cruiz Devine|
|17||Raffaele De Stradis||Nicholas Stonestreet|
|18||Takasima Hu’ihahau||Justin Letton|
|19||Cody Parry||Ben Metcalfe|
The Eels will receive the ball in the first half as they run towards the cricket pitch end of Ringrose Park. Solid first set for the Eels. Myles Martin takes the home team 11m into Cronulla’s half before an excellent kick chase pins the Sharks near their goal line.
A big chance from the get-go for Parramatta as the Sharks are penalised for an incorrect play-the-ball. The Eels will repossess the ball on the 20m line and play from centrefield. Joshua Alhazim crashes onto a short ball down the left-edge and the Eels continue to work that side only for the Sharks to repel them for two tackles. Yehya Ayache flashes out of dummy half late in the tackle count and turns Myles Martin back inside and the rangy lock forward burrows between a number of defenders to score the first try of the day!
Try scored by Myles Martin. Conversion successful. Conversion successful by Suliasi Aho.
Eels lead 6-0
Trouble now. The Eels turn the ball over from the kickoff set and Cronulla waste no time getting on the score board. Man-to-man stuff down Parramatta’s right edge and Koby Douglass proves to be too powerful as the Sharks centre crashes over out wide.
Try scored by Koby Douglass. Conversion successful by Siteni Taukamo.
Sharks lock the scores up at 6-6
The second penalty of the day goes the way of the Eels after the Sharks are caught slowing down the ruck. Willing defence from the Sharks see Patrick Spence knocked backwards and on the following tackle the Eels produce an error to take the pressure off the visitors.
Talanoa Penitani has a good carry for the Sharks and their fullback, Taukamo, slices through a tackle later but coughs up the ball as the cover defence converges on him. Bullet dodged certainly but both teams aren’t quite firing on all cylinders here in the first half.
The third consecutive penalty arrives for the Eels. They need to make something of this run. Sharks done again for slowing down the ruck. Parramatta work from right to left but Hotere-Papalii is cut down by his opposite and the Eels settle the ball in the middle with their five-eighth Guymer to bring up the last. They end up a bit lost perhaps as a result with Alhazim running the ball down the left-edge on the final play of the set. He beats a number of defenders through the initial contact but is eventually brought to the ground for the turnover on tackles.
Cronulla then get gifted free territory from the Eels as the home team concedes a penalty for grabbing the leg of the tackled player.
Big defensive set for the Eels here. The Sharks have clicked into gear in this set are running some precise lines. Fortunately Parramatta rise to the challenge and create something of a cracking set of all-round footy. Their defence is admirable and they hold out the Sharks as they run the ball on the last. Stellar footy from both young teams.
The referee is right on the Sharks here as he catches them again for a ruck infringement. Clearly a point of emphasis in the first half.
Myles Martin works the ball down the right edge and the Eels line up on the right-edge short-side to give Spence a run. He is tackled and the Eels take the ball back to centrefield but sloppy passing and catching sees Ayache spill the ball after a number of attempts at reeling it in.
Josh Lealaiauloto makes a big defensive play for the Eels near halfway as he jams in on a great read and rattles the ball loose. The Sharks try to regather the loose ball from an offside position and the Eels rack up another penalty.
Another penalty for the Eels. Cronulla rightfully done in for slowing the ruck. Wonder if a warning is coming soon. Parra play shallow on the right-edge to the back-rower Domenico De Stradis. A bustling carry from Declan Murray sets the Eels up right in front of the uprights – monster fend included from the centre there – and the big man Genesis Talagi Seuala powers over to put the Eels back in front! Sixties chips in that Genesis could be the start of something big! Puns are my domain damn it man!
Try scored by Genesis Talagi Seuala. Conversion successful by Aho.
Eels lead 12-6
Big glut of possession for the Eels as a big run down the left-edge from Alhazim nets a penalty and from the subsequent set the Sharks knock on contesting the grubber kick from Guymer. The Eels attack down a wide left-edge from the scrum win and Hotere-Papalii sees daylight between the opposing winger and centre. He pins his ears back but the defenders arrive before he can get to the try-line and he turns the ball over on the first tackle. The Eels compound the turnover by conceding a penalty from the resultant tackle as they themselves are pinged for slowing the ruck down.
Can you believe it!? The Sharks have absolutely blown an opportunity to level the scores! Some lovely ball playing down their left-edge short-side releases their big centre Koby Douglass and all he has to do is pass to his winger before he gets to Spence. Instead he holds onto the ball and Spence absolutely LEVELS him with a punishing blow that jolts the ball loose and brings a momentary pause to the game for the winded tacklee. Huge play from the Parramatta custodian but what a blown chance for the visitors.
Nice offload there from Lealaiauloto as he frees the arm up and gets the ball away to Movete Otoota. The Eels roll down field but some sloppy service from an outside back acting at dummy half on the last sees Parra spill the ball on the half volley. Errors are hurting the Eels here.
Declan Murray gets involved again with a quality surge up hte middle. Otoota is met in a strong tackle on the next play before the Eels lace a brilliant kick off the boot of Guymer. It pulls up deep in-goals and a spirited chase from Murray is beaten from what can only be labelled as a brave run from the Cronulla back as he muscles through a great kick chase to barely get back into the field of play.
Alas for the visitors and to our benefit the referee finds a small error in the ruck. Parramatta switch back to attack as the scrum gets marked 39m out from Cronulla’s goal line.
Ethan Sanders is perhaps guilty of playing too late in front of the line as Joshua Alhazim is swallowed up trying to pull in a crash ball and turns the pill over. A minute left before oranges now and the Eels need to rally defensively. Fortunately the Sharks opt to play the safe hand and opt to roll the ball into touch inside Parramatta’s half instead of chancing their hands.
Parramatta win the scrum with 10sec on the clock and will ruck the ball out to take us to the break.
Parramatta Eels 12 lead the Cronulla Sharks 6
The Eels are kicking off in the second half. An error on the third tackle will see the Eels push the attack from the outset. Left from the scrum win to Alhazim who carts it up. Poutoa Htere-Papalii gets the next run before there Eels go wide right to Murray. He is proving to be hard to bring down as the Sharks barely stop him on the slanted run back to the posts. Crash ball to Martin from dummy half but the pass gets away from the tall back-rower and the Eels turn the ball over again.
Speaking of turnovers, the Sharks oblige the Eels once more as both teams take turns trying to outdo each other in the in-completion stakes.
The quality of play momentarily lefts early in this set as a great pass from Spence to Hotere-Papalii is met by even better defence but once again the Eels fail to complete the set. Might have been Raffaele De Stradies with the error in the play-the-ball there but I am not certain.
Deary me. Cronulla again turn it over. How many consecutive incomplete sets is that between both teams now.
Sloppy left-edge work from the Eels as Alhazim looks for Spence on the block pass but only finds the turf. Spence scoots across to clean it up and the Eels recover it only to turn it over a couple of tackles later. Now the Sharks burst free down their left-edge and seem set to make a massive gain as they interchange passes back in-field but the last pass goes to no-one! The Eels scoop up the loose ball and then earn a penalty before seemingly losing the ball in contact two tackles later only for a strip call to come from the official. The ball is marked 10m out, directly in front of the posts and the Eels will take the seemingly correct call to gather up and compose themselves while Aho takes a shot at a penalty goal.
Penalty conversion by Aho successful.
Eels lead 14-6
Hot damn, the Eels complete a set! It is a monkey-part sort of deal though because Sanders’ kick is drilled deep in-goals for a 7-tackle set and the Sharks then net a penalty on the first tackle from the tap restart. Parramatta will need to lift in defence here.
Ooph. Commentator’s curse strikes there. Although the Eels defend fairly well throughout the set, Spence is caught too far towards the sideline as the Sharks roll a grubber kick from their left-edge back to the posts. #16, Cruiz Devine arrives at the ball first and dives over just to the right of the uprights to get the Sharks back into the contest.
Try scored by Cruiz Devine. Conversion succesful by Taukamo.
Sharks trail 12-14
The Sharks make a half-break down their right-edge in the following kickoff set but the parochial home crowd are baying for a forward pass to be called. The officials are deaf to the howls but Josh Lealaiauloto doesn’t miss for the second time this game. While his jam doesn’t rattle the ball loose this time around it does force an errant pass into touch and the Eels will reclaim possession 23m off their line.
Saxon Pryke is met with a heavy tackle but does well to play-the-ball at a good speed. The Eels build down their left-edge where Alhazim gets another carry. He beats the initial defender but succumbs to the following tackle. Sanders hoists the ball up high on the last and the Sharks do well to catch this kick cleanly to be honest. That was a tricky take.
More momentum off the whistle for he visitors now though as the Eels are hit with another ruck infringement. Cronulla will kick for touch from their 20m mark.
Tough footy from both teams now as they both find something resembling a rhythm in the next set. Spence is ultimately forced to bat a well-weighted grubber kick dead but the Eels heave a monstrous drop out that ends up rolling the best part of 70m. The kick does not go unrewarded either as a sloppy play-the-ball on halfway results in a turnover. Can the Eels solidify their position from here with roughly 10min left on the clock?
That is a quality dart from Terrence Lafai as he dances through the ruck for a big gain. Parramatta push deep into Cronulla’s half on the back of the early platform and Sanders sends the ball high again. The Sharks allow it bounce in-goals are fortune smiles on them as it kicks towards the dead-ball line and away from a swathe of Parramatta chasers.
Another penalty comes to the Sharks from the 20m restart but they got away with an illegal quick tap there following a long pass from the in-goals to the 20m mark. They sortie all the way downfield to Parrmatta’s goal-line where the Eels click into gear and their right-edge forces the ball into touch with good line-speed and man-to-man spacing.
Tough set for the eels here they plug away up the guts before an effort run from Raffaele De Stradis opens up space for Guymer to drill a clearing kick into touch. The five-eighth places plenty of touch on the kick and finds touch 10m out. Good set.
The Eels deliver a quality defensive set and are rewarded with an error. 5min left now, the Eels need to finish strong. Surprise option here as Guyver kicks early but it is a showcase of good vision. Spence flies through and if he gets a favourable bounce he is likely in but it breaks towards to Cronulla winger who shepherds it over the sideline. 10m scrum for the Sharks.
BANG BANG! The defensive intensity continues to climb from Parramatta! It looks like Lafai and Talagi Seuala combined there to force the error in a punishing shot. The Blue & Gold will feed the scrum on Cronulla’s 30m line with 3:34 to play. The game is entirely in the balance here.
Domenico De Stradis carries the ball from the scrum win before Declan Murray chalks up another good run. Parramatta choose to remain aggressive with the clock grinding out and attack wide left to Lealaiauloto. He looks to have dived over in the corner but the touchy raises his flag to indicate a foot grazed the sideline. So close but now the Sharks will get the ball back.
Once again the Eels defend well though and force a kick from midfield that Lealaiauloto cleans up perfectly. Aho provides a powerful run up the middle as the towering winger carries defenders and the Eels roll into the red-zone from there. Sanders is caught to bring up the last and Lafai panics on the last as he deadset rolls a pass into touch on the left-edge short-side. That was rough.
What a mess now. The Sharks have nothing cooking late in what is their last set of the game and Max Demeio rolls through a grubber in midfield. Aho comes up to tidy it up but runs into another Eel and loses the ball and in the subsequent scrimmage for the ball the Eels are penalised for being offside. The clock hits double zeroes but the Sharks get one last play. The heave a kick deep from halfway but it outpaces any sort of chase and Aho cleans it up on the bounce and tracks dead in-goals to give the Eels the narrow win!
Parramatta Eels 14 def. Cronulla Sharks 12
|#||Parramatta Eels||Cronulla Sharks|
|1||Tyrone Sau||Noah Lester|
|2||Matthew Komolafe||Harley Lester|
|3||Viliami Penisini||Douglas Levi|
|4||James Malauulu||Jordan Samrani|
|5||Freeman Forsythe||Samuel Stonestreet|
|6||Jabriel Kalache||Kade Dykes|
|7||Josh Chappell||Manaia Waitere|
|8||Jai Vakai||Joshua Finau|
|9||Vlado Jankovic||Romano Cook|
|10||Jontay-Junior Betham-Misa||Semisi Sikei|
|11||Toni Mataele||Kitione Kautoga|
|12||Maximus Tupou||Samuel Jinks|
|13||Peter Taateo ©||Blake Hosking ©|
|14||Caleb Tohi||Kobie Wilson|
|15||Larry Muagututia||Jake Biggs|
|16||Tutonu Junior Wright||William Abou Arrage|
|17||Taylor Mauala||Zach Hodges|
|18||Kyle Leonard||Jed Hardy|
Apologies for the delay in coverage but I was famished and needed to provision from fabled Wenty canteen.
Fortunately both teams obliged by hunger pangs by not scoring in the first 10min of play, which was mighty kind of them it must be said.
Despite the 0-0 score the Sharks have had the better of the running and as these updates swing back into full flight they will pack for a scrum 15m out from Parra’s goal line.
A penalty is blown from the scrum win, it is marked dreadfully close to the 10m line but the referee is happy for the Sharks to take a quick tap and the centre Jordan Samrani crashes through the retreating defence to score next to the posts.
Try scored by Jordan Samrani. Conversion successful by Romano Cook.
Sharks lead 6-0
The best chance of the first half comes to the Eels from the kickoff set as the Sharks turn the ball over. Josh Chappell looks to his back-rower on the right-edge with an unders ball but the referee spies the ball popping loose in the tackle and the attacking venture comes to a premature close.
Talk about being let off the hook! The hulking #10, Semisi Sikei, streaks through the middle after brushing off some soft ruck defence and strides into the backfield. He has support runners lining up all around him and Tyrone Sau has no chance to make a save at fullback for the Eels but the clean pass from the prop is dropped cold by the support player! Wowza!
Ouch, now Sau is cut in half as he links up down the left-edge for the Eels. That was a great read and better tackle by the Cronulla defender as he drove into Sau’s thighs and forced the ball loose.
The Hypen aka Jontay-Junior Betham-Misa forces an error with some help from Valdo Jankovic but the Eels immediately turn the ball back over only for the Sharks to do the same two plays later. Train wreck stuff from both teams there.
Viliami Penisini creates something out of nothing! He breaks through down the right-edge and links up with Chappell on the inside. The Eels play down their left-edge from there before kicking inside the red-zone on the last tackle but Jabriel Kalache doesn’t get a clean first look and his delayed kick can only find the fullback on the full. Parramatta go on to give away a penalty and the Sharks will resume play near halfway.
While the Eels continue to play a sloppy brand of footy, Penisini puts himself in the right place to claim and ball that bounces off the hands of a Shark and then power his way out to the 20m mark. Chappell kicks early this set but the kick chase isn’t there and the Sharks are under zero pressure to tidy everything up.
It is falling apart at the seams here for Parramatta as Sau grasses a regulation bomb on his 20m line. The Sharks are Johnny-on-the-spot to claim the loose ball and swing down their left-edge where only some brilliant last-line defence saves a certain try. Looked like some combination of Penisini and Komolafe there.
Big run of possession for the Sharks here as they get back-to-back-to-back sets through a combination of deflected kicks and penalties. It proves to be too much as I believe #8 Joshua Finau reaches out through contact on the goal-line to plant the ball down. Parra need to rally and get back to sound footy here.
Try scored by Joshua Finau. Conversion successful by Cook.
Sharks lead 12-0
A cheap error from the Sharks gifts the Eels a chance but are they good enough to take it? It doesn’t take long answer that question as Caleb Tohi burrows through the goal-line defence to score. Simple try but surprising given the number of defenders ahead of him. Either way the Eels will take it as they finally trouble the scorers in the first half.
Try scored by Caleb Tohi. Conversion successful by Josh Chappell.
Eels trail 6-12
A penalty for strip puts the Eels on the front foot. Maximus Tupou starts the set well but an errant pass on the net tackle undoes the early momentum. Just when it looks like hte Eels are trending the right way in the set following a big charge from Toni Mataele they manage to lose possession on the following play.Big ooph right there.
It proves particularly costly when the Sharks touch down out wide in the next set. What a back-breaker that proves to be as the half-time siren rings out in the wake of the play. It looked like the centre Douglas Levi was the one to cross the white stripe as the Sharks somehow find space down their left-edge on the back of some second phase play. They will head into the break with a 2-score lead thanks to that effort.
Try scored by Douglas Levi. Conversion successful by Cook.
Cronulla Sharks 18 lead the Parramatta Eels 6
Parramatta receive the kickoff. Chappell takes the ball and gets the Eels underway. It is a big set for the Eels as Penisini takes them deep into Cronulla’s half and then picks up a penalty late in the count. Left now as Cappell links up with up Kalache who is barely pulled down. Peter Taateo takes half the team to stop him short of the line but it sets up Caleb Tohi to barrel over for his second try of the game!
Try scored by Caleb Tohi. Conversion successful by Chappell.
Eels trail 12-18
Tohi is everywhere! The substitution superstar has found a seam in the ruck and flies into open space and hits a superb pass to a distant Jankovic who was trailing in support. Parramatta maintain their composure from the fast-break and some lovely hands from Freeman Forsythe gets a late ball away to his centre Penisini to dive over in the corner!
Try scored by Viliame Penisini. Conversion unsuccessful by Chappell.
Eels trail 16-18
It is all Parra now. They bully their way right down the Cronulla’s goal-line. Jankovic nearly falls through the defensive line to score but it trapped a metre shot. Chappell lines up a stab-kick to the right-edge on the last. The Sharks spill the contested ball and Penisini flies in for the scoop and score attempt but he looks to have clipped the right sideline in the process. Parramatta will regain possession from the first error against the Sharks though.
Scratch that. Parra HAD possession but James Malauulu loses the pill in contact on the first tackle of the next set. Big let-off for the Sharks as the Eels were running riot up until that moment.
Gee that is a soft penalty. The call is for a high shot but that looked like a hit square against the barrel of the chest. Karmic justice follows I guess when the Sharks lose control of ball on the first play of the penalty set. Parra set to work it out from their 20m line here but an early penalty means they will hoof it downfield and resume play 5m shy of halfway.
Penisini guilty of over-earnestness there. He half beats his opposite down the right and bounces off the ground in impressive fashion looking for a lightning fast play-the-ball but he catches the ball on his foot in the movement and the referee correctly spies the error.
Another penalty for the Sharks now. They have dominated the penalty count it feels and as I type that a second penalty follows. The referee is having nothing of Parra’s defensive work in the ruck it would seem.
What looks like good defence from our left-edge is quickly penalised. Painful stuff. Think the indication is an offside defender here.
Oh time off now as a touchy comes in. Taateo, the captain, is called up and it looks like Kalache is on report for an elbow? Not really clear what happened in the lead up there but the important thing in the now is that the Sharks turn the ball over immediately in the next set.
Ah geez, The Hypen makes a brilliant run as he throws off defenders left and right but he goes one step too far as he tries to offload to support and loses control of the ball. Frustrating error there because it undoes his own brilliant individual effort.
Parramatta somehow hold on on their goal-line. The Sharks get to a last tackle kick and roll it in-goals. The Eels scramble to bat it dead and get a hand on it but before it can roll out the Sharks attempt to ground the batted ball only to knock on. Big slice of luck there but we will take it.
We manage to complete a reasonable set with a Chappell attacking bomb that is expertly defused by a Cronulla flanker and lo and behold – another penalty falls the way of the Sharks. Brutal differential in the count here.
Cronulla nearly burst through the right-edge of the Eels but desperate last ditch defence by Penisini and co force an error somehow. Chappell does well to force a line drop out at the end of the set with a bit of misdirection as he shapes to his outside right shoulder before rolling a kick back infield for a chasing Sau.
Larry Muahututia takes the first carry but the timing is off for the Eels as the attack down their left-edge. To the right on the last and Chappell tries to isolate Penisini with a weighted kick. The big centre climbs the ladder and gets to the ball first but can’t secure it to his chest and loses it over the line. The Sharks counter-punch rapidly down their right-edge and make a massive 60m break before drawing a penalty for a lop only to then lose the ball once more. It has been a sloppy game to say the least.
Oh lordy, it does exist! A Parra penalty! It takes the home team out of their danger zone and close to halfway. Penisini takes the first carry and is driven into the turf and in typical fashion the Eels turn the ball over yet again on the second tackle. This is painful but somehow Parramatta still only trail by 2pt with 10min to play. If they can steady the ship they have every chance to get the win here.
And now the Sharks are penalied in possession! An illegal play-the-ball there and amusingly the Sharks were expecting the penalty to go there way and attempted a quick tap. Pure madness descends upon the game in the wake of the penalty as the Eels turn the ball over from the first tackle only for Cronulla to do exactly the same in reply. I am loathe to do it but this time is definitely earner the bludger tag today.
Kalache draws a penalty with a great left-foot step and run but as you may imagine…the Eels then turn the ball over from the quick tap. Painful footy.
Speaking of painful, the Sharks work away until their last tackle and then make an error in the play-the-ball. Just over 5min left now. Who really wants the win here?
I can’t even adequately explain what is going on in these final exchanges a both teams take turns trying to out-error the other. With 2min left the Eels will get what might be the last right of reply as the Sharks bat down the last pass as Tupou attacks the line and tries to find Malauulu it looks like.
Penisini is used from the scrum win before Chappell has a run. Mauala has a run followed by a second Penisini carry. Taateo centres the ball before Mataele is used on a crash ball down the left. All or nothing on the last tackle. We gun it with a face ball to a forward from dummy half of all things, was it big Larry Muagututia the recipient there? He almost forces his way over but is ultimately stopped shot and somehow flings a Hail Mary offload backwards 10m perfectly to Kalache! The light footed five-eighth weaves through traffic as he dances towards the right edge and passes around the corner to Freeman Forysthe who flies towards the line! Did he get it down? I honestly don’t know! The ball flies off the ground but Freeman gets up celebrating! The referee looks to his offsiders…is he going to award it? YES HE IS! The Eels have stolen the win! The Eels have pulled one out of the fire! What a crazy finish!
Try scored by Freeman Forsythe. Conversion successful by Chappell.
Parramatta Eels 22 def. Cronulla Sharks 18
Final Word (Sixties)
I spoke briefly with Dylan Brown and Dave Hollis who were both at Ringrose yesterday to support the teams and their mates. Dylan is no stranger to those who attend lower grades and juniors. He’s a terrific club man and has even been seen helping to carry gear.
Dave Hollis combines footy with an apprenticeship. This is his first year out of Junior Reps but he was there to support them – and he was still in his Hi-Viz gear having come straight from work to the ground.
The Eels are well served with blokes like this in the club.