NSW Cup will be looking to follow in the footsteps of their senior cohorts in the NRL by booking their place in the finals this week. They enter the round in 5th place in a newly installed Top 5 format but have the Canberra Raiders breathing down their necks meaning they essentially must win tonight. With that said, win and they are in and their opponents this week are the 10th placed Newcastle Knights. Jordan Rankin and the lads need to take of care of business under the bright lights at Kellyville Park.
They are boosted by the additions of Ky Rodwell and Bryce Cartwright this week while Ofahiki Ogden has traded places with Makahesi Makatoa between the NRL and NSW Cup. Even without the likes of Makatoa and Jake Arthur, the Eels are still a formidable band of footballers and should win the day. Sixties will be live from Kellyville to bring you all the action from 7:00PM!
NSW Cup Team List
3. Bailey Simonsson
1. Hayze Perham
5. Sean Russell
6. Jack A. Williams
8. Ofahiki Ogden
9. Mitch Rein
10. Ky Rodwell
11. Elie El-Zakhem
12. Toni Mataele
13. Bryce Cartwright
14. Brendan Hands
15. Tevita Taumoepenu
16. Dan Keir
17. Jayden Yates
Eels kick off and an error from Newcastle fielding the ball means the ball goes dead for a line dropout. The Eels are pressuring the line within two tackles but a stray pass gives the scrum to the Knights ten out.
The Knights attempt a strip but knock the ball on. The Eels have possession 30 out and shift right as soon as they get into the 20. Perham is in space and draws the winger opening a passage for Russell to score in the corner. Conversion unsuccessful.
Eels 4 Knights 0 7 minutes gone
A couple of penalties during sets has provided the Knights with good territory. The Eels hold on against a strong raid from the Knights and finally earn their own penalty. It all comes to nought on the Knights 40 but then Newcastle return the favour by losing possession two tackles later.
Great charges from the drop offs from the Eels has the Knights on the back foot. A deft kick on the last from Arthur earns a line drop out. More pressure from the Eels and they earn a set restart. Once more Arthur punishes the Knights with a superbly weighted kick for another line drop out.
The Knights opt for a shortish drop out but Parra easily get possession. They hammer the line for about 4 tackles before Williams sends the ball right and once more Perham beats his opposite, draws the winger and puts Russell over in the corner.
Eels 8 Knights 0. 21 minutes gone
Apologies for the last twenty minutes. The rain hit and a minor hiccup with the device has caused me to lose all of the blogging over that period.
To recap that period, the Eels were guilty of far too many errors in possession. Newcastle made a number of raids down both wings. One break came close to creating a try with only a desperate chase by Williams preventing a kick ahead from being regathered by the Knights in the Eels in goal.
A shout out also to Tevita T for a great cover tackle on the Knights left winger inside the twenty when a try looked likely.
Without question the last 20 minutes of the half belonged to the Knights.
Half time Eels 8 Knights 0
Knights kicking off
The Eels have picked up where they left off dropping the ball on about the fourth tackle. Knights feeding the scrum 40 out. The Eels hold on and both sides trade sets.
Parra get a penalty for a strip and work play towards the Knights quarter. The Eels forwards carry the ball strongly in the early tackles and a powerful charge from El Zakhem is only stopped inches from the line. However the damage has been done and the knights can’t stop the follow up carry from Rodwell who crashes over next to the posts.
Conversion by Rankin successful
Eels 14 Knights 0 8 minutes gone.
Tremendous 40/20 from the Knights and they follow that up by earning a line drop out. They might have been lucky here. An errant pass still gets a fortunate bounce to the intended recipient who then throws an offload which bounces along the ground to an unmarked winger for a Newcastle try in the left corner.
Eels 14 Knights 4 14 minutes gone.
The knights have nothing to lose and are chancing their arm with late offloads and wide shifts. They make terrific inroads off the kick off before dropping the ball in the final play the ball of the set.
The Eels now return the favour with a forward pass resulting in another incomplete set.
Newcastle continue to challenge the Eels defence and the high risk play brings them close to the line but it comes at the price of lost possession.
Parra now have the ball from a scrum in the Knights quarter. Newcastle are offside from the scrum and it’s a six again call. They are again quick off the line forcing an Eels error and a turn over in possession.
A couple of sets traded but the Eels get the better of it with a pinpoint kick from Arthur earning a line drop out. Williams follows it up with a kick of his own earning a drop out but Newcastle win the ball from the short kick.
What a try! Cini fields a Knights grubber in the in goal and runs across the dead ball line before straightening to get out of the in goal and he’s in open pastures. He runs 100 metres and is tackled around the ankles two metres out, but the defender falls off him and he dives over to score!
Eels 20 Knights 4 about 5 minutes remaining
An Eels kick on the last by Williams looks to have been touched by the Knights and it’s wobbling through the air. It’s a difficult catch in the conditions and their left winger fumbles it. Parra pick it up and spread it left. Simonsson beats his opposite and puts Cini into a one on one ten out. He beats the defender and crosses in the corner.
Eels 24 Knights 4 two minutes remaining.
Eels 24 Knights 4