We close out a crazy Saturday of footy with the main event in the NSW Cup. Parramatta are looking for the trifecta today after posting wins in the Harold Matthews and Jersey Flegg. As expected, Hayze Perham has been added to the team. He is officially listed on the wing in place of Solomone Naiduki but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him feature at fullback at some point today. The Eels are otherwise as listed and will be looking for a bounce back victory in Round 7.
The Eels are kicking off in the first half.
Hayze Perham is at fullback and is immediately called into action as the Rabbitohs venture to their left aggressively from deep in their own half and make a break. Hayze shuts it down expertly and the Eels catch a huge break several tackles later when a crossfield kick takes a wicked Parramatta bounce that leads to a Souths knock on.
The Eels grind out a solid reply set but young Jakob Arthur is jammed as he kicks it and it barely floats over the sideline on the full.
Sean Russell makes a bad read from the left flank allowing some cheap metres but the Eels recover with a great shot from Ky Rodell that jolts the ball loose.
Haze and Hayze combine over two tackles to make some important metres early in the next set before Russell sets off down the left sideline for a useful gain. Rankin clears the ball but the kick chase is penalised for failing to retreat the 10m and Souths get a huge piggyback.
Parramatta are caught out wide for the third time in this young game, for the second time down their right now. This one is not shut down and it ends up costing the Eels a try as neither Perham or Rankin can make the cover tackle.
Try scored by Steven Marsters. Conversion unsuccessful by James Tautaiolefua.
Souths lead 4-0
Stinging defence from the Eels leads to a turnover early in the kick off set. A chance to right that previous wrong. Arthur hits Matterson short but he is well tackled. Play switches to the right but the Rabbitohs continue to defend grimly. Rankin hoists a bomb to the left corner and Russell leaps up to contest it but it slides through his hands and over the sideline for a turnover.
Strong carries from Penisini and Hipgrave get the Eels out of trouble in their next possession before Matterson takes them over halfway. Arthur sends the bomb downfield and it is taken cleanly by the Rabbitohs. Again the visitors look to attack early down their left and almost have something cooking but Parramatta’s right edge keeps scrambling and eventually the Bunnies push one pass too many leading to a drop.
Unfortunately an errant pass on the first play sees the Eels lose a good 15m and they have to fight over the next three tackles to get back to where they started before Arthur sends up another bomb that is cleanly defused once more.
There is a much stronger start to the Eels’ next set as Haze Dunster fights for a 15m gain and earn a set restart in the process. Hayze Perham has a quality touch as he weaves through defenders and flicks an offload to support. Two tackles later the Eels finally equalise as Elie El Zakhem crashes over on a silky overs line. Jordan Rankin was the man that slipped him the sly pass at the line and the backrower did it all himself afterwards.
Try scored by Elie El Zakhem. Conversion successful by Jordan Rankin.
Eels lead 6-4
Ah, a loose carry from Matto now as he pushes over halfway. Souths dive on the loose ball and flip the flow of the game in a blink. And in another blink of the eye it is Sean Russell who plucks up a batted ball from the Rabbitohs and weaves in and out for a 73m sprint to the line to score against the run of play! Some nice wheels from the young man there.
Try scored by Sean Russell. Conversion successful by Jordan Rankin.
Eels lead 12-4
Damnations. Another error after points and this one is one the first tackle. Dunster has the ball squeezed out of his grasp on the opening run and Souths get back on the front foot with out a struggle. They immediately hit back as well with a shift to their right. Russell makes the jam after a good read but can’t complete the tackle and the Bunnies sweep around and finish off in the corner.
Try scored by Nick Mougious. Conversion successful by James Tautaiolefua.
Souths trail 10-12
A little sliver of momentum swings back to the Eels as they pick up a penalty. Rankin booms it downfield for a strong touchfinder. HIpgrave gets an early carry in the following set with Makatoa up next. Left with the outside-in from Arthur to Rankins. Hipgrave has a sortie that takes him from right to left and he eanrs a penalty for his efforts.
Tap and go now. Lussick then Hipgrave. Parra post to the left as Roache scoots out of dummy half and turns Makatoa back inside but the prop tries to force an unnecessary offload that thankfully gets called back for an offside defender.
Matterson goes oh so close which then sees Lussick take another carry. Arthur brings up the last with a testing run of his own which leaves Rankin to call the final shot and he tries to stab a grubber in behind. It gets trapped in the defensive line but ruled not played at and although Rankin recovers the ball he is tackled and the turnover is signalled for.
Another chance now for Parra though as the Rabbitohs are caught passing the ball forwards. Scrum is set on the 30m line with the Eels showing a 3-3 split. Arthur goes to Oldfield on tackle 1. Two passes wide to Makatoa on the next tackle and from there they try to force it to the left as Perham tries to bullet a pass to Russell. It doesn’t leave the hands right and skips between Oldfield and Russell and from there into touch.
Will Penisini does really well to fight through some aggressive defence at the start of Parramatta’s next set before he gets dropped on his head. A penalty and report come as Rankins does well to get 20m from a narrow angle on the kick.
El Zakhem and Makataoa go one and two from the resumption of play. Then left between the two halves who use Matterson. The star forward smashes through the line and tries to link up with Arthur to his right before the fullback but a cover defender showed surprising pace to get back in time and bat it back and dive on it. Still, it isn’t all wasted as the Bunnies turn it over cheaply a few tackles later giving the home team another shot.
Some really good vision and execution from Jake there as he laces a grubber early in the count and earns a line drop out. Hipgrave gets us back underway as the Eels work to their right before swinging back to their left. Arthur tries to work another early kick but the winger is much more awake to it this time and gets back in time to tidy it up in the field of play. Punishing defence on the next tackle earns a second line drop though – well done for the effort on effort there.
Tasi James flies into the line this time around before Arthur plays to the blindside with Oldfield. Rankin makes a half break but it quickly comes back for an obstruction. A second penalty goes to the Rabbitohs as Will Penisini is put on report for a high shot or perhaps a crusher.
Souths roll up to Parramatta’s goal line and spot a condensed defensive line. Their opt to kick in crossfield as a result and Dunster can’t make up the difference in space as Marsters strolls over after stepping back across the flying Haze.
Try scored by Steven Marsters. Conversion successful by Steven Marsters.
Parramatta Eels 12 trail the South Sydney Rabbitohs 16
Eels to receive the ball.
A shonky kick off from Souths that travels maybe 18m. The Eels clean it up without incident and get to work. Arthur completes the set with a strong clearing kick as Perham leads the chase.
Oh my God that is perhaps the greatest comedy of errors I have even seen. Parramatta get the ball back from a South’s error and go on the attack. Perham sweeps to his left and tries to play short to Matterson but the ball squirts behind Matto. The Rabbitohs have to attempts to pick up the ball and make a meal of both of them which then sees Sean Russell play Mr Johnny On The Spot and scoop up the ball and score in truly bizarre circumstances.
Try scored by Sean Russell. Conversion unsuccessful by Jordan Rankin.
Eels lock the scores up at 16-all
Way, way, waaaaay too easy. After the Eels are pulled up for a forward pass Souths work right from the scrum win and just breeze past the left edge of Parramatta. Russell hasn’t played wing for a long time and it is showing in his defensive positioning.
Try scored by Nick Mougios. Conversion unsuccessful by Steven Marsters.
Souths lead 20-16
Parramatta are trying to fight their way back into this but the attention to detail is killing them. They have a chance to complete a big set by trapping the Souths flanker 1m off his goal line but the tackle slips high and the visitors are off the hook.
The Eels get an early 6-again in their next set before Perham jumps out against the retreating defence and puts Arthur through. A cracking cover tackle cuts him down before he can make too much of a gain. Still, the home team are on a roll here as the march into the red zone. Matterson keeps it alive on the last with a well timed offload that gets the ball back to Arthur. Jake drills it crossfield looking to pick up a runner and while it misses the first target it is Haze Dunster that picks it up on the roll to score!
Try scored by Haze Dunster. Conversion unsuccessful by Jordan Rankin.
Eels lock the score up at 20-all
After embarrassingly missing a clear knock on from the South’s fullback the firs time around, the ball delivers natural justice when he grasses the second kick in the prolonged sequence of play. Jake Arthur continues his strong second half with a money pass to Ryan Matterson akin to the earlier play between Rankin and El Zakhem. Gorgeous overs line with the perfectly timed pass and the Eels reclaim the lead.
Try scored by Ryan Matterson. Conversion successful by Jordan Rankin.
Eels lead 26-20
What a deft finish from Arthur as he drills the ball deep downfield. Souths are pinned on their goal line and have to claw their way back to their 30m line before rushing an ugly clearing kick. Supreme game management from the young half right there.
The Eels go expansive from the kick return as Hayze links up with Haze by way of a long cut out and Dunster gets the set off to a great start with a weaving, stepping run. Parramatta nearly score again via the crossfield bomb to the right but the Rabbitohs do enough after the Eels recover the ball to wrap it up.
Arthur is taking over this game now. The big show and go leads to a linebreak for the playmaker and he nets a line drop out with a brilliant grubber on the fly!
Matterson breaks a few tackles with a nice carry that sets up the Eels back to the posts and three tackles later it is Keegan Hipgrave that storms over. It takes some light feet and something of a pirouette but the lock forward gets over and puts the Eels one step further away!
Try scored by Keegan Hipgrave. Conversion successful by Jordan Rankin.
Eels lead 32-20
Well the entire left edge of the Rabbitohs were a good 5m offside from the kick off and that is exactly where they go. The ref misses it and sure enough they recover it before going on to pick up a late 6-again call. They drop the ball to boot early in the restart and pick up a line drop out with under 12min on the clock.
Massive goal line stand incoming. The Eels stand firm through the first five tackles and force the Bunnies to gamble on the last. They play through the hands down their left and go over but the last pass from Moga is definitely forwards and the officials spot it. Play is stopped after some backchat and something serious must have been mouthed at the touch judge by Moga because he is flat out sent off.
This game is all but done and dusted as the Eels get back-to-back sets following another error on a kick from Souths. Rankin takes on the line early in the next set, throws a casual dummy and splits the line.
Try scored by Jordan Rankins. Conversion successful by Jordan Rankins.
Eels lead 38-20
The home team has come with a wet sail in the second half. After failing to get through a set after points in the early exchanges they are at their clinical best. They take the short kick off and work the ball into South’s red zone before Lussick drills the ball into touch.
The back and forth continues over the next handful of sets but despite some red hot cracks from the Eels they can’t impact the scoreboard and that wraps up a very entertaining second half.
Parramatta Eels 38 def. the South Sydney Rabbitohs 20