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The Eels stunned not only the Warriors but themselves in a thrilling 28-26 win at Parramatta Stadium.
The match was barely a minute old when PJ Marsh went down with a neck injury. After a long delay he was placed on a stretcher and taken away in the medi-cab. He was taken for precautionary x-rays at the hospital. If he is out for any length of time it will be a big blow for not only the Warriors but for Queensland.
The absence of Marsh didn?t hold the Warriors back as they scored just minutes later when Betham went from dummy half and controlled possession in the early stages.
The momentum didn?t last long as the Eels found some attacking power through Peterson on the right and the combination of Lyon and Moodie on the right. Going into halftime Peterson bagged a double and Hopkins scored to give the Eels a 12-6 lead.
The Warriors started off the match in a bad way and the second half was no different. Just minutes in Stacey Jones was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul. Once again the Warriors weren?t held back and they scored a flurry of tries with Faumuina proving too much to handle for the Parramatta defence. The Warriors found themselves up 26-12 and victory looked almost certain.
It wasn?t to be though. Even with Darren Treacy in the sin bin for defence the Eels were determined to go down fighting. Graham found his way through the Warriors and over the try line and moments later Vaealiki picked up a loose pass to bring the Eels to within 4 points.
With just seconds on the clock the Eels had the ball 20 meters out from the Warriors try line. On the last tackle Witt kicked the ball into the in goal and the ball bounced terribly for Stacy Jones. Daniel Wagon was on hand to catch the ball and score under the sticks for Parramatta. Witt converted and the Eels found themselves the most unlikeliest of winners.
It was a sensational match that twisted and turned right the way through. In the end the Eels finally got some luck to go their way. The Warriors will be disappointed that they gave the Eels a sniff but for Rugby League its been a great week for grandstand finishes.
Leagueunlimited?s Player of the Year Points: 3 ? S Faumuina (Warriors 2 ? L Hopkins (Eels) 1 ? M Peterson (Eels)
Saturday 14 June 2003 7:30 PM Parramatta Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins
Scorers: EELS Tries: 2 Peterson, Hopkins, Graham, Vaealiki, Wagon Goals: Moodie 0/2, Witt 2/5 WARRIORS Tries: Betham, Webb, Faumuina, Meli, Anderson Goals: Jones 2/4, Webb 1/2
By the clock:
0 min: Kickoff!
1st min: NEWS - PJ Marsh has gone down injured. This is a big blow for both the Warriors and Queensland. The game has been held up for several minutes as PJ Marsh is placed on a stretcher and taken off in the medi-cab.
5th min: TRY - Warriors. The Warriors got a penalty right in front. Motu Tony tried to go over from dummy half. Then Monty Betham also went from dummy half but this time was more successful going straight through the Eels defence to score. Stacey Jones is successful with the conversion - Warriors 6-0.
10th min: NEWS - The Warriors have got on very well despite the set back of losing Marsh in the opening minute. They've managed to have 64% of the possession.
15th min: NEWS - Parramatta have started to work themselves back into the game now. They've got some possession back and a couple of sets on the Warriors line. The Warriors defence has held strong.
17th min: TRY - Eels. Hopkins went through a gap and unleashed Matt Peterson into space and the young flyer ran 50 meters to score in the corner. Moodie is unsuccessful with the conversion attempt - Warriors 6-4.
22nd min: TRY - Eels. Hopkins made a great run from dummy half going through 4 Warriors defenders to score. Moodie is unsuccessful with the conversion attempt - Eels 8-6.
25th min: NEWS - Things have really turned around now. The Eels have now had 54% of the possession. They've had some repeat sets, a couple of tries and look very dangerous on attack. All this equals the Eels being ahead on the scoreboard.
32nd min: NEWS - Things have just settled down now as we close in on halftime. The Eels continue to look dangerous down the right with the Lyon and Moodie combination.
34th min: TRY - Eels. Morrison threw a long ball out to Peterson who stretched out and scored in the corner. The video referee was called upon to see if Peterson got the ball over the line. After several looks he awarded the try. Witt is unsuccessful with the conversion attempt - Eels 12-6.
Halftime: The Warriors started off strongly but the Eels have fought their way back with 3 tries and now have the upper hand going into the break. Halftime score - Eels 12-6.
41st min: The second half is under way!
43rd min: SIN BIN - Stacey Jones. The Warriors are now down to 12 men as Stacey Jones is sent to the bin for a professional foul.
48th: TRY - Warriors. One of the tries of the season. It all started with Faumuina who put in a little kick and regathered. He got the ball away to Motu Tony who then gave it onto Brent Webb who finished off the move scoring under the posts. Webb is successful with the conversion - 12 all.
52nd min: TRY - Warriors. Faumuina scores a great try. He made a break and then threw several dummys and stepped his way through the Eels defence to score. Webb is unsuccessful with the conversion - Warriors 16-12.
53rd min: NEWS - Stacey Jones is back on the field.
54th min: TRY - Warriors. The Warriors are on fire. Webb made a big break and passed the ball onto Mellors. Mellors sent it on to the man of the moment Faumuina who sent it onto Meli who scored. Stacey Jones is unsuccessful with the conversion attempt - Warriors 20-12.
63rd min: TRY - Warriors. The Warriors are unstoppable. Jones made a great run to the line and popped it up to Tony who sent it on to Anderson to stroll over the line. Jones is unsuccessful with the conversion - Warriors 24-12.
68th min: SIN BIN - Darren Treacy has been sent to the bin for decent. The Eels are now down to 12 men.
69th min: PENALTY GOAL - Warriors. The Eels put a drop goal out on the full giving the Warriors a penalty out in front. Jones slots the two points - Warriors 26-12.
73rd min: TRY - Eels. Ashley Graham fended his way through the line and went over to score a try which may help the Eels stay off the bottom of the table. Witt is unsuccessful with the conversion attempt - Warriors 26-16.
76th min: TRY - Eels. A terrible Eels pass rolls along the ground and Motu Tony couldn't pick it up. It bounced up perfectly for David Vaealiki who scored. Witt is successful with the conversion - Warriors 26-22.
80th min: TRY - Eels. Unbelievable scenes at Parramatta Stadium. witt put a kick through that bounced horribly for Stacey Jones. Wagon caught the ball and score. The Eels have come in from everywhere to celebrate. Witt kicks the goal to win the match for the Eels - Eels 28-26.
Fulltime: Absolutely amazing finish to this match. The Warriors looked at one point like they were going to rack up a huge score. Parramatta got a sniff and scored some last tries. The final one saw them explode. Finally some luck has gone the way of the Eels. Final score - Eels 28-16.