Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Parramatta Eels 18 v North Queensland Cowboys 26
The Cowboys came back from trailing 14-0 early in their match against Parramatta at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night to complete an impressive 26-18 win. The Eels led 14-6 at half time.
The Eels scored against the run of play in the eighth minute with a 90 metre try to Eric Grothe Jnr. The lead was extended after 18 minutes after Tim Smith sent a great inside ball to Wade McKinnon who scored under the posts. The lead was extended to 14-0 with a Mark Riddell penalty goal in the 34th minute. Just before half time the Cowboys scored the first six points in their 26-0 run with a try to Matthew Scott after a Nathan Hindmarsh error.
The Cowboys closed the gap to 14-12 after McKinnon played the ball back to no dummy half right under his own posts, and from the next play Faiumu scored under the posts. Nine minutes later the Cowboys took the lead with the first of Matt Sings two tries after creating an overlap on the right hand side. The Eels were controversially denied a try by the video referee after it was ruled Riddell had used McKinnon as a blocker as he dived from dummy half. Following this there was a punch up that saw Chad Robinson and Justin Smith sin binned, and just before the players came back onto the field Johnathan Thurston converted a penalty goal for a 20-14 lead. Moments later Rod Jensen broke up the middle and found Sing in support who scored his second under the posts. Wade McKinnon scored a late try that could have kept the Eels in the match, only for Riddell to miss the conversion.
Parramatta Eels: 18
Tries: Eric Grothe, Wade McKinnon(2)
Goals: Mark Riddell 2/3, Brett Delaney 1/1
North Queensland Cowboys: 26
Tries: David Fauiumu, Matthew Scott, Matt Sing(2)
Goals: Johnathan Thurston 5/6
By the Clock:
Just several minutes away from kickoff at Parramatta Stadium.
1 min: NEWS The Cowboys kick the game off!
3 min: NEWS Cowboys get the first attacking opportunity through an Eels error, but a poor pass finds touch.
8 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
After having to defend several repeat sets inside their 10 the Eels hold the Cowboys out and spread the ball wide to Grothe who runs 90 metres to score. Riddell lands the easy conversion.
13 min: NEWS On their first real attacking opportunity Tim Smith throws a 'forward pass' that led to Brett Delaney crossing the line, called back.
17 min: NEWS Cowboys giving away plenty of penalties in an effort to slow the game down..
18 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
A magnificent step and inside ball from Tim Smith puts Wade McKinnon in under the posts. Delaney converts.
20 min: NEWS Luke O'Dwyer currently down injured. Back up now.
23 min: NEWS Eels really dominating possession, getting plenty of penalties and repeat sets.
24 min: NEWS An unmarked Grothe drops a pass that would have seen him score in the corner.
31 min: NEWS Cowboys win a goal line drop out.
34 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels
After a penalty for dissent, Mark Riddell kicks a penalty goal.
36 min: NEWS Marsh makes a great run up the middle, but throws a pass to the Cowboys.
37 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys
On the back of a great last tackle run, then a Hindmarsh error, Matthew Scott barges over from close range. Thurston converts.
40 min: NEWS Half time. The Eels have really dominated the first half but would be dissapointed to only lead by 8.
40 min: NEWS Second half underway.
41 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys
An awful error from the Eels that had McKinnon playing the ball back to no dummy half leads to a Faiumu try one play later. Thurston converts.
44 min: NEWS Just as the Cowboys were getting momentum Thurston loses the ball as he's tackled.
50 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys
The Cowboys draw an overlap and Sing scores out wide. Thurston converts.
55 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL North Queensland Cowboys
Thurston misses a penalty goal.
58 min: NEWS Cowboys get held up over the line and can't score on the last play.
59 min: NEWS PJ Marsh out for tonight with an ankle ligament injury.
60 min: NEWS Video referee for an Eels try.
60 min: NEWS NO TRY - McKinnon is penalised for obstructing the marker.
61 min: NEWS FIGHT - After a swinging arm from Chad Robinson the players come on for a dust up.
61 min: NEWS SIN BIN - Chad Robinson is sent to the sin bin for his swinging arm.
61 min: NEWS SIN BIN - Justin Smith is sent to the sin bin for his reaction with the fight. Swinging arm is on report.
66 min: NEWS After being stopped on the last tackle Stringer takes a huge air swing at Matt Sing.
67 min: NEWS Ben Smith now coming off the field injured.
72 min: PENALTY GOAL North Queensland Cowboys
After a holding down penalty on Hindmash, Thurston successfully kicks a penalty goal. The sin binned players return.
73 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys
A break up the middle by Rod Jensen finds Matt Sing in support who scores under the posts.
77 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
A cut out pass finds McKinnon totally unmarked out wide. Riddell misses the conversion.
80 min: NEWS The Cowboys complete an impressive comeback from 14-0 down to win 26-18.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Johnathan Thurston
2 - Matt Sing
1 - Tim Smith