Cronulla convincing as Eels stumble

Cronulla-Sutherland have come up with a solid victory tonight over a bumbling Parramatta Eels outfit tonight, holding the home side to a scoreless second half whilst running out 22-18 victors in front of over 13,000 at Parramatta Stadium.

The Sharks started confidently and spent the best part of the first twenty minutes inside the Eels' half. Only a staggered break from the Sharks provided Parramatta with an opportunity to score, Cronulla five-eighth Trent Barrett's support pass finding Eels winger Luke Burt, who gave it to Daniel Mortimer before sending Tom Humble on his way for the opening try - completely against the run of play.

Cronulla wouldn't lie down however, and tries to Anthony Tupou down the left and Dean Collis down the right caught the Parramatta wing defence napping, all the while giving the Sharks a four-point lead. It would be Parramatta who finished stronger in the first half, however, with Daniel Mortimer and Jeff Robson taking advantage of lazy Sharks defence to put the Eels up 18-10 at oranges.

The second half though, was all Cronulla. Twenty minutes would pass before the Sharkies narrowed the gap to two, Tim Smith with the vision to run the ball on the last and score near the posts. A video referee decision minutes later cost Parramatta a try, but wouldn't stop the Sharks from heading back to the other end and allowing Paul Aiton to score the match-winner with thirteen to go. The Eels failed to capitalise late in the game despite numerous opportunities, with kicks going to far and errors aplenty stopping the home fans going home smiling.

The Eels will welcome back Tahu and Hayne (pending injury) from Origin duty when they face the might of the competition leaders St. George Illawarra at Kogarah on Friday night, while Cronulla will fancy their chances against the Broncos at Toyota next Saturday evening.

Match Details
Parramatta Eels 18 were defeated by Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 22
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 11 - Saturday May 22, 2010 7:30pm
Venue: Parramatta Stadium
Referee: Jared Maxwell and Brett Suttor
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Steve Chiddy and Adam Reid
Crowd: 13,058
Halftime: Parramatta Eels 18 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 10

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Luke Douglas
2 Points - Trent Barrett
1 Point - Daniel Mortimer (1 Try)

PARRAMATTA EELS (18)
Tries: Jeff Robson, Daniel Mortimer, Tom Humble
Conversions: Luke Burt (3/3)

CRONULLA SUTHERLAND SHARKS (22)
Tries: Dean Collis, Paul Aiton, Anthony Tupou, Tim Smith
Conversions: Nathan Gardner (3/3), Tim Smith (0/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Parramatta Stadium the venue and it's a clash that always serves up an interesting eighty minutes. Lots of colour in the stands for the only Saturday match this Round, shortened by Origin 1 taking place on Wednesday. Both teams as per program for this one, Parramatta missing Jarryd Hayne and Timana Tahu on Origin duty, with Sharks not suffering any impact, despite five-eighth Trent Barrett being a back-up in NSW camp during the week.
Teams taking the field now, Parramatta in their predominantly blue jersey and Cronulla in their normal "home" jersey. Suttor and Maxwell are our referees and we're underway. Game on!
2 min: An enterprising start from Cronulla, finding themselves in an attacking position early and it's Blake Ferguson who almost forces a try but the Eels bat it dead. Line drop-out and another chance for the Sharks
3 min: Good defence from Eric Grothe coming up off his wing forces the error from Cronulla. Eels scrum on their own 10m line.
4 min: Messy passing sees the Eels drop it close to their own line and it's a Sharks scrum inside the Eels' 20m zone.
5 min: Taulima Tautai can't handle an Anthony Tupou offload and while Nathan Gardner claims the try for the visitors, it'll be an Eels scrum.
6 min: Blake Ferguson drops the ball in attack. Nothing happening for Cronulla despite spending the duration of the game so far in the Parramata 20m zone.
9 min: A rather ordinary kick to finish a set from Cronulla's Tim Smith, clearly feeling some nerves at his former stomping ground.
13 min: TRY
TRY Parramatta Eels
Scored by Tom Humble. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. A sensational right-side play from Cronulla falls apart as Barrett's support pass is intercepted by Luke Burt, who runs half the field in return before turning it in for Tom Humble to score a try in his first game as Parramatta's #1. Burt caps the try with a conversion from right in front.
Parramatta Eels 6-0
16 min: Tom Humble knocks the ball from Trent Barrett's hand following a high bomb which the Sharks 5/8th catches. Sharks scrum although Maxwell informs the Sharks captain to have a chat to Paul Gallen about his manners.
18 min: John Morris with a poorly timed run drops the ball, just a moment after being held up over the line.
20 min: TRY
TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Scored by Anthony Tupou. Conversion attempt by Tim Smith unsuccessful. A penalty gives the Sharks another stab at the Parramatta line and the stadium is silenced as Anthony Tupou slices through, reaches out and scores. Tim Smith can't level the scores, Cronulla will trail by two.
Parramatta Eels 6-4
23 min: Golden footy being played by Cronulla and they go within five metres of the Parramatta line but Tim Smith's fifth tackle grubber is easily collected by the Eels. Moimoi comes off for the Eels.
26 min: Justin Poore on the field and already a knock-on from him - this will give the Sharks a chance to get inside Eels territory again...
27 min: A freakish Tim Smith kick almost earns Cronulla a try as it bounces of the upright and bypasses Humble, before Mortimer cleans it up but is grounded in-goal. Drop-out Eels, the Sharks will attack again.
29 min: TRY
TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Scored by Dean Collis. Conversion attempt by Nathan Gardner successful. Fantastic right-side movement from the Sharks brings Luke Burt off his wing, and Dean Collis takes advantage, scoring Cronulla's second try. Gardner takes the goalkick attempt and is successful.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 10-6
31 min: Parramatta with their first set of six on Cronulla's line tonight and they force the line drop-out. How will the Sharks defence cope here?
34 min: TRY
TRY Parramatta Eels
Scored by Jeff Robson. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. The Eels hit back from repeat sets, Jeff Robson taking advantage of slack marker defence and gettin the ball down over the line. Burt's conversion gives Parramatta back the lead.
Parramatta Eels 12-10
38 min: Good pressure from the Eels, first Eric Grothe runs hard down the touchline before he's taken in a tackle (some might argue he should've thrown it to Reddy in support), then on the fifth Kris Keating puts it through to the in-goal where Gardner is forced to knock it dead, albeit awkwardly. Drop-out Sharks, Eels to attack again.
40 min: TRY
TRY Parramatta Eels
Scored by Daniel Mortimer. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Tackle 3 and the Eels are losing ground, some poor passing eventually finds Daniel Mortimer who chips over the flat Sharks line, Gardner makes a meal of the catch and Mortimer comes through, toes it along, collects it and eventually scores under the sticks. Burt's conversion puts the home side up by eight as we head to the sheds.
Parramatta Eels 18-10
HALFTIME at Parramatta Stadium: The home side lucky to be up by as much as they are, some renewed pressure on the Sharks' line late in the half sees them 18-10 in front despite the Sharks dominating the first half-hour of play. Cronulla's execution has lacked however and Parramatta have taken advantage. The old cliche is that "this could go either way" - that's definitely true tonight.
41 min: The boot of Mortimer ended the first half, and it also gets us underway for the second half. Cronulla with first possession, running right to left on your computer screen.
42 min: The Sharks back into the swing of things early, the ball going to the left on the last, Barrett chipping over the top and the ball bounces away from Tom Humble, but Gardner is ruled to have taken him out - a tough call as neither young fullback had anywhere else to go. Penalty Parramatta.
44 min: Parramatta' fifth tackle kick hits the uprights but Gallen's got it wrapped up and Cronulla are out of trouble for the time being.
47 min: Cronulla earn a penalty now, putting them on the attack. Daniel Mortimer knocks on attempting an intercept and it's now a scrum for the visitors 20m out.
49 min: Tautai grubbers on tackle one, doesn't get the desired result but forces a drop-out anyway. Silly option so early in the count, but a lucky result nonetheless.
52 min: Joel Reddy drops it cold in front of the Sharks' line attempting a grubber. Comical stuff!
58 min: TRY
TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Scored by Tim Smith. Conversion attempt by Nathan Gardner successful. We have a ball game! Good energy from the Sharks, Tim Smith running it on the last and catching the Eels goalline defence napping. Gardner's conversion narrows the gap to two.
Parramatta Eels 18-16
62 min: Cronulla on the attack again here, they can take the lead with a four-pointer...
64 min: Up to the Video Referee for a possible Eels try. A ricochet off a Sharks player following an Eels kick - Ben Smith was offside though. The call... NO TRY. Smith ruled offside.
65 min: The subsequent penalty has Cronulla well on the attack, a bomb on five from Barrett... it's a Sharks try... or is it? Video Referee called into action again, checking the grounding.
67 min: TRY
TRY Cronulla Sutherland Sharks
Scored by Paul Aiton. Conversion attempt by Nathan Gardner successful. Video Referee Phil Cooley awards the try, Paul Aiton successfuly grounds the ball, and Cronulla are in front! Gardner converts from beside the posts, it's the visitors by four with thirteen minutes on the clock.
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 22-18
69 min: The Eels with a break down the left edge, Burt grubbers for himself, regathers, but he's brought down metres out. He ends up the first receiver and puts it on the toe but Gardner's there to clean up.
73 min: A kick designed to pressure the Sharks rolls into touch and has a calming effect on the game. The Eels with it now - Smith spills it at the scrumbase!!!
75 min: A Keating kick with plenty of vision catches the Sharks' outside backs napping, goes out to Luke Burt's wing... but it's got too much weight and goes touch-ingoal. Cronulla lucky there.
76 min: Grant Millington penalised for a strip on Feleti Mateo. Parramatta penalty, they're on the attack and the big crowd here is buzzing!
77 min: A kick to the other wing and a lazy effort from Eric Grothe sees him take the ball touch in-goal. Sharks 20m restart.
79 min: Barrett puts a long, touch-bound kick in, it crosses the line twelve metres out. Parramatta with it all to do with just 80 seconds remaining.
80 min: A hopeful chip ahead from Mortimer gets the Eels into a promising position but he can't handle the pickup and the Sharks end up with the ball. 30 seconds remain for the visitors to hold on here.
FULLTIME Cronulla-Sutherland beat Parramatta 22-18, another victory over the Eels for the men from the Shire. They played with plenty of energy and have managed a good win over a team that only five days earlier put a premiership contender on the back foot.

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