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Dominant Eels end the Raiders season
Fulltime score: Round 25 Parramatta Eels 48 v Canberra Raiders 10
Match summary: The Parramatta Eels have put themselves in a strong position to claim the Minor Premiership by ending Canberra's season with a dominant 48-10 victory at Parramatta Stadium.
It was a dour struggle in the first half, and the Raiders were able to claim a 10-6 halftime lead as the Eels attack was strangely ineffective. Canberra were sticking with a no-frills brand of footy that was paying dividends early on.
But then came halftime. The Eels seemed to emerge from the sheds wearing capes and completely blitzed the Raiders in a rampant 42-0 second half performance, with both Luke Burt and Ben Smith claiming hat-tricks.
The Eels will surely be favourites to claim the Minor Premiership next week in their match against the Broncos after this performance. It took them a while to click, but once they did it would have taken three teams of Raiders to stop them.
Canberra now have no more mathematical legs to stand on, but will still have plenty of support next week as they can still spoil Manly's season and give the chasing teams one last chance to make the finals.
Eels v Raiders match photos: Click here to see the photo gallery for this game
Scorers: PARRAMATTA EELS 48 Tries: B Smith 3, Burt 3, T Smith, Riddell Goals: Burt 8/9 CANBERRA RAIDERS 10 Tries: Graham, Hindmarsh Goals: Schifcofske 1/2
Venue: Parramatta Stadium Referee: Tim Mander Half time: Eels 6 Raiders 10
Live commentary: Welcome to Parramatta Stadium, also known as the "Last Chance Saloon" today for the Canberra Raiders, who are grimly clinging on to the faintest of Top 8 hopes.
0 min: KICKOFF!
0 min: The Raiders try a short kick-off to start the match, but the Eels gain possession.
5 min: Mark Riddell (Eels) knocks-on in front of his own posts in attempting to gather in a kick, good chance for the Raiders coming up.
8 min: TRY - Raiders Todd Carney grubbers ahead for Phil Graham to open the scoring this afternoon. A solid start from the Green Machine here. Clinton Schifcofske misses with the conversion attempt. Eels 0 Raiders 4
10 min: TRY - Eels An error from the Raiders gives the Eels the perfect chance to hit back. And they do exactly that, with a beautiful Tim Smith pass putting Ben Smith into a huge gap, with an easy stroll to the line. Luke Burt adds the extras. Eels 6 Raiders 4
14 min: 40/20 - Raiders Jason Smith gives the Raiders another good scoring chance.
20 min: The Eels put up an attacking bomb that is batted back, but Phil Graham chases through and kicks it 90 metres upfield. Almost a chance for a Raiders try, but the Eels win the chase for the ball.
VIDEO REF - checking a possible Eels try ...
22 min: NO TRY - Eels Luke O'Dwyer crashes over the line, but a double-movement is ruled.
VIDEO REF - checking another possible Eels try ...
25 min: NO TRY - Eels Luke O'Dwyer is denied again in a very harsh call, ruled to have been held up in a Marshall Chalk tackle. Still 6-4 to the Eels.
28 min: Possession favouring the Eels 56% to 44%, and they're leading the penalty count 4-1.
31 min: The Raiders are putting in a great defensive effort to keep the Eels out so far.
VIDEO REF - checking a possible Raiders try ...
36 min: NO TRY - Raiders Jason Smith comes very close, but drops the ball inches from the line in some strong Eels defence.
37 min: TRY - Raiders Ian Hindmarsh takes a great short pass from Jason Smith, shrugs off some attempted tackles from the Eels and crashes across the line. Schifcofske takes an eternity to kick the extra two points. Eels 6 Raiders 10
HALFTIME: Eels 6 Raiders 10 It's been a pretty ugly game so far. The Eels seem to be lacking a lot of their customary attacking spark, while the Raiders are simply plugging away and have taken an unlikely 4 point lead into the sheds. Possession: Eels 51% Raiders 49% Completion: Eels 17/22 Raiders 15/20 Missed tackles: Eels 10 Raiders 11 Offloads: Eels 0 Raiders 5
The second half is underway!
Injury update: Phil Graham (Raiders) has a badly sprained ankle, he's unlikely to be back today.
43 min: The Raiders kick a line drop-out out on the full, the Eels take the penalty tap.
44 min: NO TRY - Eels Brett Delaney crosses for the Eels, but the play is called back for a forward pass.
45 min: TRY - Eels A mesmerizing Tim Smith sidestep sees the Raiders grasping at thin air, and Smith slams the ball down next to the posts. Luke Burt adds the extra two. Eels 12 Raiders 10
48 min: ON REPORT - Matt Gafa (Raiders), for a late high shot on John Morris.
52 min: The Raiders are defending wave after wave of Eels attacks at the moment, but it seems to be just a matter of time before they crack ...
53 min: TRY - Eels Joel Reddy finds himself in a gap after a good pass from John Morris. Luke Burt is backing up and takes the final pass to score the try. Burt's conversion attempt is OK. Eels 18 Raiders 10
58 min: NO TRY - Eels Luke Burt is dragged into touch by Clinton Schifcofske just inches short of the try-line.
60 min: TRY - Eels Plenty of Raiders errors are giving all the possession to the Eels at the moment. This time, Mark Riddell takes a pass five metres from the line and carries three Raiders over with him. Luke Burt adds the extras once more. Eels 24 Raiders 10
64 min: TRY - Eels Ben Smith scores his second from a Dean Widders grubber kick, following a charging run from Fui Fui Moi Moi that put the Raiders onto the back foot. Luke Burt nails a good kick from out wide. Eels 30 Raiders 10
69 min: TRY - Eels Ben Smith grabs a hat-trick, this one scored from a Tim Smith grubber kick. It's all over for the Raiders in season 2005. Luke Burt keeps his perfect kicking record for today intact. Eels 36 Raiders 10
73 min: TRY - Eels A spectacular effort here as Luke Burt climbs high to claim a Tim Smith cross-field kick and dots down just inside the dead ball line. Burt converts his own try. Eels 42 Raiders 10
VIDEO REF - checking a possible Eels try ...
77 min: TRY - Eels Luke Burt chases a beautifully accurate kick from Tim Smith down the sideline into the in-goal, and outpaces the chasing Raiders to claim his hat-trick for the afternoon. Burt converts again, from right out on the chalk. Eels 48 Raiders 10
79 min: BIFF - Nathan Cayless and Jason Williams come to blows, penalty goes against the Raiders.
80 min: PENALTY GOAL ATTEMPT - Eels Luke Burt takes the penalty shot from 40 metres out, but the kick floats wide.
FULLTIME: Eels 48 Raiders 10 The Eels have blown the Raiders away in the second half this afternoon, running away with a strong 48-10 victory to put the final nail in Canberra's coffin for this season. This result also sees the Eels on top of the table heading into the final round of the regular season.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - Luke Burt (Eels) 2 - Ben Smith (Eels) 1 - Fui Fui Moi Moi (Eels) -----------------------------------------