80:00
Fri 26 May 2017
ANZ Stadium - Crowd: 14218

Eels hold off belated Bunnies to slide into the eight

Parramatta have snapped a two game losing streak and moved back into the NRL's top eight by defeating an out-of-sorts South Sydney 22-16 at ANZ Stadium tonight.

Souths endured a horrible first half where simple mistakes starved them of possession, to the point that ten minutes before halftime, the Eels had completed double the amount of sets of six than the home side.

Despite a late revival in the second half by the Rabbitohs, thanks to two late tries from Souths winger Alex Johnson, the Rabbitohs were very poor with basic handling errors at crucial times and the Bunnies back three allowing towering bombs from Mitchell Moses and Clint Gutherson to bounce on numerous occasions, highlighting a forgettable performance for Michael Maguire's men.

The Eels were terrific in the first half, with new halves combination Clint Gutherson and Mitchell Moses combining well, with each having a hand in the sides opening three first half tries.

New recruit Mitchell Moses got his new side off to a terrific start, when he put Tepai Moeroa into a yawning gap, with the backrower showing classy footwork on rookie centre Tyrel Fuimaono and fullback Cody Walker to score after just six minutes.

In is fair to say that fullback Walker has been one of Souths best this season, however the fullback had a nightmare start to the evening, when he let a bomb bounce which very nearly fell into the path of Semi Radradra. However things got a lot worse for the fullback, when he spilled a Clint Gutherson grubber in goal which fell into the path of Beau Scott who scored one of the easiest tries of his career. Gutherson then extended the Eels lead to ten points after Gutherson made up for his first missed conversion, by converting Scott's try.

Souths half Adam Reynolds then committed yet another Rabbitohs error, putting his kick out on the full on the last tackle and the Eels were threatening the Souths line yet again. Souths then gave away a penalty for leaving their defensive line too early and Gutherson pointed to the posts to extend the Eels lead to two converted tries.

Gutherson then got involved again, when he scooted out of dummy half deep in his own half, the five-eighth then put Semi Radradra away and the Toulon bound winger did the rest, streaking over halfway to score under the posts.

South Sydney coach Michael Maguire gave his side a real animated talk at halftime and it looked to improve their attitude early in the second half, with some ferocious hits early on and the Rabbitohs managed to build some pressure forcing back to back sets for the first time in the match.

Fortunes finally turned the Bunnies way, when Eels winger Radradra was stripped close to the Souths try line. Angus Critchton then picked up the ball with open space and managed to race away for a 90 metre run to score the Rabbitohs first try of the night.

Despite the home side receiving back to back penalties of the back of Critchton's try, Parramatta struck on their first opportunity in their attacking zone, when Moses put winger Josh Hoffman in some space down the right edge, the former Titan then managed a spectacular mid air put down to place the ball inside of the corner posts for a superb try.  Gutherson missed from the sideline but the damage was done as the Eels lead 22-6.

Despite two late tries to Alex Johnson and a late comeback giving themselves three seconds to pull a rabbit out of thier hat, the miracle never looked like happening and was neither deserved with the Eels winning 22-16.

The Eels now will head into Round 13 looking to consolidate their position in the Top 8, when they host the Warriors back at ANZ Stadium next Friday night.

South Sydney meanwhile will need to do some self reflection as they have the bye and given tonight's performance it could not have come at a better time.

3. Clint Gutherson

Gutherson was terrific for Parramatta making numerous breaks and having a hand in two tries. Gives coach Brad Arthur a real nice problem to have for when Corey Norman returns from injury.

2. Mitchell Moses

Terrific first half from the former Tigers, who set the tempo with the first try for Moeroa and the final try for Hoffman. Best game in the blue and gold so far.

1. Tepai Moeroa

Strong game from the second rower, who was a handful for the Souths defence all night. Looks to be striking up a great combination with Mitchell Moses.