Round 9 has arrived with some gorgeous weather. In what should have been the final week of regulation season footy in the junior representatives, instead we now enter the penultimate round with huge stakes for both the Harold Matthews and the SG Ball. The Matts are flying high in 2nd place on the ladder and are looking to try and catch the competition leading Sea Eagles slipping while the Ball are clinging to 6th place and need a win today to keep consolidating their place in the finals.
Action kicks off from 11:00AM today!
Harold Matthews vs Central Coast Roosters – 11:00AM @ McCredie Park
SG Ball vs Melbourne Thunderbolts – 1:00PM @ McCredie Park
Harold Matthews First Half
The Eels are kicking off in the Matts today.
Although Parramatta defend well in the opening set, they very nearly concede a 4020 from a cracking attempt. It is marked out 21 metres from Parra’s goal line and in their first set the Eels pick up a ruck penalty.
Sam Tuivati centres the ball and allows the blue & gold to spin to the right but the ball is dropped. The Roosters counterpunch as they scoop up the ball and race 25m downfield but they too are guilty of pushing a pass and turn it over.
Parramatta are too impatient once more as they look to put Myles Martin over with a patented ruck play but again the ball hits the deck.
Parramatta’s next possession starts with a really nice offload from Tuivati that finds Blaize Talagi. The Eels pour on the pressure with a great grubber kick and chase that forces an error from the fullback Oliver Juras.
There is a stacked backline to the right of the scrum and play that way to Patrick Spence on the sweep. The Roosters do well to account for the block play and cut Spence down but on the next tackle, Talagi races down the right edge and bullets a perfect cutout pass to Suliasi Aho who duly obliges and scores.
Try scored by Suliasi Aho. Conversion successful by Ethan Sanders.
Eels lead 6-0
A quality set after points is undone by some loose defence that allows a cheap linebreak to the Roosters. The Eels rally following that breach though and some tidy work from Spence at the back prevents the stabbed kick from doing any damage.
The home team are gaining the ascendancy here and that is emphasised as Ethan Sanders sends up a towering end-over-end bomb. The right winger for the Roosters barely pulls it in before he is smashed by the kick chase and does indeed lose it.
Blaize Talagi is the man again as he steps and weaves down the right-edge and navigates between defenders on the goal line to diver over! What a start for Blaize in his first starting berth of the year!
Try scored by Blaize Talagi. Conversion unsuccessful by Ethan Sanders.
Eels lead 10-0
Gee that is a play from Spence! Two sets after they score he has raced across the field to not only defuse a long kick but slide and get a foot into touch to turn the clearing kick into a massive out-on-the-full error!
It looks like the Eels have bagged their third try of the first half when a pinpoint crossfield kick from Sanders finds Aho but credit to the Roosters – they scramble desperately and bring him down short of the line.
Ah shit. Suliasi Aho does so well to defuse a nasty torpedo bomb in the midfield but he is rolled over in the tackle and it looks like his knee might have been twisted badly there. The big fella is helped off the field, as always I hope it isn’t anything serious.
Have yourself a game Blaize! A try assist, a try and now a forced turnover with a great read and jam. The young man is on fire.
He then very nearly scores his second of the day with a scything dart back to the posts. Somehow the Roosters drag him down but he is in the thick of it again as he sorties down the right and throw a looping cutout pass to big Tyrese Lokeni, who is out on the right flank in Aho’s stead, and the big bopper come winger powers over in the corner!
Try scored by Tyrese Lokeni. Conversion unsuccessful by Ethan Sanders.
Eels lead 14-0
Parramatta Eels 14 lead the CC Roosters 0
Shocking start from Parra in the second half as they turn the ball over from the kickoff. Massive chance for the CC Roosters to get a foothold in this game.
They attack down their left before switching play back to the posts where they earn a penalty to keep the pressure building.
B L A I ZE
T A L A G I
He has done it again! Another beautiful read and tackle forces the ball loose!
What a reply! Parramatta attack from a scrum win down their left and a cheeky offload from Saxon Pryke releases Declan Murray into an open field! Murray slides down the left sideline and although it looks like he might have the jets to make it himself he threads a kick ahead for Sanders who takes a wonderful bounce to score! Superb team try.
Try scored by Ethan Sanders. Conversion unsuccessful by Ethan Sanders.
Eels lead 18-0
A significant blow for Parra now as Myles Martin is aided off the field. No indication of what troubles him there but we walked off slowly.
First bit of positive play from the Roosters in a while now as they run it on the last and eventually kick it down Parra’s right edge. Lokeni gets on his bike and wins the chase for the ball and bats it dead.
Credit to the Roosters for hanging in here. They could have easily rolled over but instead applied themselves and are rewarded with a try as they drive a low kick to their left edge. Lokeni tries to get back in-goals in time but his opposite beats him to it to score the first points of the day for the CC Roosters.
Try scored by CC Roosters. Conversion unsuccessful.
Roosters trail 4-18
Gorgeous sleight of hand from Sanders there! He has held the ball up beautifully before dropping a dime of a short ball to Joshua Alzahim who storms over from 15m out! The Eels hit back quickly to consolidate their lead.
Try scored by Joshua Alzahim. Conversion successful by Ethan Sanders.
Eels lead 24-4
There seems to be some legitimate trouble with the sun down the left corner for the Eels. Another kickoff is grassed down that side and the Roosters get the chance to narrow the gap once more.
Quality goal line stand from the Eels in return. They let the Roosters shift the ball from side to side but hold their line integrity before forcing an error from a dummy half dive.
Parramatta drive the ball downfield and test the Roosters with some second phase play but they are cut down short of the line on the last as they run the ball via Spence.
Declan Murray splits the ruck defence on his own 20m and races 65m downfield before he is gunned down by the Roosters #22. A short side play to Guymer follows immediately and the centre pins his ears for the line but he loses the ball in the process of gathering himself for a contested dive to the corner post.
Oh you love to see that! The classic outside-in play as Talagi finds Guymer to the right before the centre slips an inside pass to Spence who hares over! Puts the exclamation point on a solid win.
Try by Patrick Spence. Conversion unsuccessful by Ethan Sanders.
Parramatta Eels 28 def. the Central Coast Roosters 4
Parramatta are kicking off to start the game.
A strong opening set from the Thunderbolts gives them the early edge in the territorial battle but aggressive defence from the Eels in Melbourne’s next possession forces a mistake on halfway.
Nice early involvement from Josh Tuipulotu as he busts some tackles from the scrum win. A rapid right-edge shift from Chappell is invoked by means of a sharp cutout pass to his centre Kamoe Fekitoa who finds Freeman Forsythe in turn but the scramble defence of the Thunderbolts bundles the winger into touch.
Gee, that hurts. A bullocking run from Jontay Junior earns a penalty but all that good work evaporates into the aether as Josh Chappell fails to find touch. Elementary mistake there, hopefully the last of its kind today!
Even so it quickly comes back to haunt the home team as the Thunderbolts cross out wide. Looks like their fullback Ron Tooala got on the outside of the Eels’ left-edge defence and threaded a kick through for his winger Zacharius Fuimaono to score.
Try scored by Zacharius Fuimaono. Conversion successful.
Thunderbolts lead 6-0
After a bizarrely long conversion attempt we are finally back.
What a scintillating attacking play from Tyrone Sau! He has plucked a crossfield kick out of the air from left centre and returned serve with a 40m kick return! Alas, the Eels are overzealous to strike back on the scoreboard and overplay their hand on the second tackle as a pushed pass under duress dribbles into touch down the left.
The Thunderbolts have come to play today, that is for certain. Their left winger Tyreece Falamoe soars above a pack of chasing Eels to claim an attacking bomb and then swerves and slices his way 45m downfield for a monster start to the set. Thankfully the Eels hold on but gee it feels like one of those days as Tyrone Sau makes another linebreak – this one down the left sideline – and as he comes to the fullback his pass to Sione Tauosi is grassed with the line 35m away. That is a brutal error.
Urgh, the Ball are playing a very sloppy brand of footy today and are really letting the Thunderbolts control this contest. Thankfully the visitors run into a rough patch of their own and fail to capitalise on a slew of Parramatta errors at their own end.
Finally there is some spark from the blue & gold as Josh Chappell sells a dummy or two and breaks the line. He is eventually tackled from behind on halfway but the game is quickly paused as a Melbourne defender stays limp on the ground. Looked like friendly fire as he went to tackle Chappell from behind. The Eels’ struggles continue from the resumption of play though as Jabriel Kalache drops pass from dummy half cold. They desperately need something to ignite their focus here.
Well would you look at that? The Eels finally complete a set and they score! Some nifty lead up work from Keanu Wright-Dunrobbin positions Parramatta for an attacking raid and as they work through their tackles to the last – Josh Chappell is able to find Freeman Forysthe with a stabbed chip kick down the right. Forsythe had plenty of work to do to go up and claim the ball and then get it down but he did the job perfectly!
Try scored by Freeman Forsythe. Conversion unsuccessful by Josh Chappell.
Eels trail 4-6
All of a sudden the Eels have switched on! They earn a penalty late in their kickoff set and follow that up by pinning the Thunderbolts in-goals. All the credit goes to the big winger Tapuosi there as he fielded Chappell’s bomb and then turned back infield and grubbered perfectly to force the restart. An early error from the dropout set lets the visitors off the hooks though.
Brock Parker earns a penalty by avoiding getting turtled and thereby baiting the flop and the big bookend gets up and takes the quick tap for himself. Just over a minute on the clock as he takes off before offloading to support down the right. The Eels marshall the ball downfield into the Thunderbolts’ redzone but with seconds left on the clock, Wright-Dunrobin grubbers for himself from dummy half and the ball rolls well over the dead-ball line.
Melbourne Thunderbolts 6 lead the Parramatta Eels 4
Once again it is the Thunderbolts who control the early flows of the half as they dive over from dummy half care of their nuggety rake Tui Ieremia.
Try scored by Tui Ieremia. Conversion successful.
Thunderbolts lead 12-4
Again, a completed set invariably has a hugely positive outcome in volatile encounters like today. As it the case for the Eels as they close the gap to just 2-points once more. A lightning play-the-ball from Brock Parker on the Thunderbolts’ goal line allows Keanu Wright-Dunrobbin to jump out of dummy half on the last and split the unprepared defenders.
Try scored by Keanu Wright-Dunrobbin. Conversion successful by Josh Chappell.
Eels trail 10-12
Ouch. And the Thunderbolts strike back like, well, lightning as they blitz the Eels from an error and their rake scores his second of the game. All the more painful for Parramatta is the fact that the error game from a linebreak they produced and the resultant play completely changes the complexion of the game.
Try scored by Tui Ieremia. Conversion successful.
Thunderbolts lead 18-10
Peter Taateo gets a rare carry for the day and immediately splits the defensive line. He flicks an offload to Brock Parker on his left and the big man who tries to find support himself but it catches a hand of a defender for a fresh set. From the new possession the Eels call upon a pet play that has served them well over the course of the season as they turn one of the big bopper inside from dummy half. Didn’t quite catch who it was, maybe Jontay? It was indeed the big hyphen that scored!
Try scored by the Jontay-Junior Betham-Misa. Conversion successful by Josh Chappell.
Eels trail 16-18
And now they turn it on out of no where! A strong set after points with big contributions from Sau and Tuipulotu puts the Eels in the box seat to attack the goal line. Chappell kicks crossfield to Forysthe who takes the ball and flicks it infield to Kamoe Fekitoa. The big centre takes a fraction of a second to realign himself and then find Chappell who sums it up perfectly and opts for the grubber kick. Two Eels fly through in chase but it is big Peter Taateo who wins the race!
Try scored by Peter Taateo. Conversion successful by Josh Chappell.
Eels lead 22-18
Is that enough to get them home? The home team has something of a wet sail in the last 10min of play and have stormed to a defensible lead. Peter Taateo was massive in the lead up once more with a energetic break down the left. The Eels shift the ball to their right rapidly and find a big bopper in the #24, which must be a jersey swap as no one is listed there, the unit spins through a couple of would-be tackles and dives over! It is none other than the hypen! The big lad Jontay has a crucial double!
Try scored by Jontay-Junior Betham-Misa. Conversion successful by Josh Chappell.
Eels lead 28-18
The Thunderbolts have one last crack at reducing the margin but the Eels hold fast.
Parramatta Eels 28 def. the Melbourne Thunderbolts 18