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Enterprising Eels second half sizzle downs Broncos
The loss of Clint Gutherson during the week hasn't dampened the Parramatta Eels' resolve at ANZ Stadium tonight with the hosts accounting for the Brisbane Broncos 28-14 after trailing 14-12 at halftime.
Cruising to their fifth straight win on the back of a huge second half, the Eels were shocked at the outset of the match when Brisbane blew them off the park with two tries inside the first ten minutes. Matt Gillett opened proceedings at the Olympic venue at the fourth minute when James Roberts exploded down the right edge, a series of haphazard passes eventually allowing Gillett to crash over near the posts.
It wasn't long before they added to their tally when James Roberts went over in the eighth minute - taking a 12-0 lead.
But ultimately, the Eels kept cool heads and once they got their hands on the ball, hit back with interest. Tepai Moeroa and Kirisome Auva'a made light work of the Broncos defence to ensure the hosts levelled scores by the 20th minute.
Both sides were kept off the scoreboard for most of the rest of the half, with ugly scenes erupting three minutes before the break when Jonus Pearson was levelled out in a big tackle by Nathan Brown. Brown was put on report although Kenny Edwards escaped any immediate punishment despite driving a shoulder into the prone Pearson.
Brisbane were able to work their way up field from the ensuing penalty and earned another - allowing them to take the two and push marginally ahead at the break.
The life that was in the contest in the first half seemed to have drifted somewhat early in the second half, with the 56th minute the first time anyone troubled the scoreboard. Moses converted a penalty goal to level scores, then added another at the 69th minute to edge ahead by two themselves.
It was in the last ten the Eels exploded to life with two tries to cap a solid win - Auva'a lumbered over for his second try out wide before the silky skills of Bevan French were rewarded with a last-minute try to confirm a comfortable margin. Mitch Moses converted three of the four tries scored together with the two penalty goals (Norman kicked the other conversion) and the Eels got home 28-14 to keep their top four hopes very much alive.
Parramatta's next task comes next Thursday when they are listed as the away team against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium, while Brisbane are back up in Queensland, albeit at Robina as they are away to the Gold Coast on Saturday evening.
Parramatta Eels 28 - Brisbane Broncos 14
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Halftime Score: Parramatta Eels 12 Brisbane Broncos 14
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Mitchell Moses
2 points - James Roberts
1 points - Bevan French
PARRAMATTA EELS (28)
Tries: Tepai Moeroa, Kirisome Auva'a (2), Bevan French
Conversions: Corey Norman (1/1), Mitchell Moses (3/3)
Penalty Goals: Mitchell Moses (2/2)
BRISBANE BRONCOS (14)
Tries: Matt Gillett, James Roberts
Conversions: Jordan Kahu (2/2)
Penalty Goals: Jordan Kahu (1/1)