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A very even game at Parramatta Stadium, but the visiting Bronco side managed to scrape in the win by 20 - 14.
The first half was not good for the Eels with John Morris leaving the field concussed, only to have to return when Paul Green copped an unfortunate knee to his head, resulting in a fractured cheekbone. Couple this with the number of top players sitting on the sidelines, and Brian Smith will have his work cut out picking players for the next few games.
The Eels by the 25th minute had made 6 interchanges, with their hand being forced mainly by the injuries in the game. In contrast, the Broncos, at the break, had only made 2.
Wet conditions did not help either side with ball security, and it was not surprising to see the score locked at 8-8 at halftime.
The Broncos had some horror moments, more so in the 2nd half, with unforced errors in the slippery conditions. With the determined Eels defence, the scoreline didn't really open for the Brisbane side until the last 6 minutes when they managed a 6 point buffer.
The Parramatta die hard attitude was there to be seen, and hopefully with the return of some key players, they will be very hard to play against later in the season.
Leagueunlimited players of the match:
3 D Lockyer (Broncos) 2 D Carlaw (Broncos) 1 S Dunley (Eels)
Scorers: Eels 14 Tries: Dunley, Lyon Goals: Hodgson (3/3) defeated by Broncos 20 Tries: Tate, De Vere x2, Lockyer Goals: De Vere (2/5)
By the clock: 7th min: TRY - Tate for Broncos. Broncos spread it from their own try line, with Morris (Eels) injured in back play. Fast plays and Tate busts through the defensive line to score. De Vere kicks from 10 metres in, but just misses the conversion. Broncos 4-0.
8th min: NEWS - Morris (Eels) off with concussion. A case of having his head in the wrong place in a tackle.
15th min: NEWS - Weight of possession going the Broncos way. A heavy shower just before kick off has not helped the ball handling skills.
22nd min: NEWS - See-sawing possession. A solid hit on Hodgson (Eels) by Stuart Kelly just after Hodgson caught the high ball. Very hard, but legal.
24th min: NEWS - Green (Eels) off the field with a fractured cheek bone, after accidently being collected by Carroll's knee. Morris has come back on. Eels have used 6 of their interchanges in just over 20 mins.
25th min: TRY - Dunley for Eels. Quick plays by Parramatta, finished off with a beautiful grubber kick by Wagon for Dunley to dive on. Hodgson converts with no problems. Eels 6-4. Rain is falling again.
30th min: TRY - De Vere for Broncos. Richards (Eels) looses the ball right on his line. De Vere is quick to dive on the tumbling ball to score. De Vere from close to the sideline, just misses converting his own try. Broncos 8-6
35th min: PENALTY GOAL - Hodgson for Eels. Parker (Broncos) seemed hard done by, penalised by Harrigan for a wrong play of the ball. 8-8
HALF TIME: A tough game in slippery conditions.
49th min: PENALTY GOAL - De Vere for Broncos. 3 sets of six close to their line, and the Broncos couldn't crack the excellent scrambling defence from the Eels, who eventually concede another penalty, and the goal is kicked from out in front by De Vere. Broncos 10-8.
52nd min: TRY - Lyon for Eels. A mistake by the Broncos to hand over possession close to the Eels line. Great defence by the Broncos couldn't keep Lyon from scoring from a perfectly timed kick from Morris through to the in goal. Hodgson gets an easy conversion. Eels 14-10.
61st min: NEWS - Dunley unlucky to score for the Eels, with the grounding of the ball just short of the line. The Eels seem to have stepped up a gear and are stretching the Broncos defence on a number of ocassions.
66th min: TRY - De Vere for Broncos. Quick plays following a bust through the defence by McGuire, and the Broncos manage to spread it wide to De Vere. From the sideline, De Vere misses a tough kick. Scores locked again 14-14.
75th min: TRY - Lockyer for Broncos. With Lockyer held up seconds earlier, the Broncos, fro the scrum, spun the ball wide. Ikin's pass put Lockyer beautifully in the hole to score. De Vere finally gets an easy conversion. Broncos 20-14.
FULL TIME: A win for the Broncos, but they had to work for it every inch of the way.