The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The game started poorly for the visiting side, an absolute disaster seeing Nathan Cayless spill the pill from the kickoff, only for Luke Burt to save the day by utilising a short drop out and gaining possession back for the Eels. A seventh minute penalty aside, it was all the Eels as they managed two quick tries to lead 10-2 after 24 minutes.
Following the visitors' second try the Tigers failed to capitalised on a glut of possession, eventually turning the ball over with five remaining in the half, giving the Eels a soft try close to the line for five-eighth Brett Finch.
The Eels took a 16-2 lead to the break and so far the Tigers had failed to contain Parramatta's offloading and second phase play, and it showed as the second half started, Feleti Mateo and then Ben Smith crossing for tries in the opening ten minutes of the half to take them out to a 24-point lead. A try to Luke Burt not long after a sickening head clash between PJ Marsh and Brett Hodgson left the latter dazed on the ground sent Parramatta 30 points clear. Hodgson did get up and play on, but looked terribly worse for wear.
The Tigers only try of the match came to Chris Lawrence after they finally pierced the Eels solid defence. The scoring accounts closed with five minutes remaining with a try to Feleti Mateo - his second - but could have been plenty more had PJ Marsh not been held down by Tigers half John Morris, who was sent to the Sin Bin for a professional foul in the 69th minute.
The victory will send Parramatta swelling with confidence after playing some great football and offloading at will - the real test now in the biting cold at Canberra Stadium next Saturday evening. The Tigers will take to Newcastle on Sunday hoping to bounce back after what can only be described as a disappointing performance. Robbie Farah was kept very quiet as the Eels back ran riot, Ben Smith and Luke Burt impressing greatly while from the forwards Fuifui Moimoi and Feleti Mateo were both leading from the front.
LeagueUnlimited Live Commentary
Telstra Stadium is tonights venue - two teams in some good winning form in Parramatta, recently toppling both the Cowboys and Warriors going into tonights game, while the Wests Tigers are hot on the back of a winning streak of six after losing their first four games. Last week they managed to put away Penrith by a single point but will be looking for a far greater winning margin.
Parramatta are as per the program.
Kickoff moments away.
0 min: Kickoff... Luke Burt lets it bans... CAYLESS DROPS IT! Eels line drop out!
1 min: A sensational line drop out earns Parramatta possession back after their colossal error to start proceedings.
7 min: PENALTY GOAL Wests Tigers Brett Hodgson slots an early penalty to open the scoring at Telstra. Wests Tigers 2-0
16 min: VIDEO REFEREE Parramatta try for Eric Grothe, a miracle ball in the corner... Decision pending... TRY.
17 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Eric Grothe scores an absolutely amazing try in the corner, after some swift work from the Eels backline to float him the ball in the corner. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt unsuccessful. Parramatta Eels 4-2
24 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Another brilliant four pointer this time to Parramatta's opposite winger Jarryd Hayne. Some great hands allow the try to be scored under the posts from long range. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 10-2
31 min: Parramatta suffering through any number of penalties as the Tigers' attack still fails to penetrate the line.
33 min: Tigers held up over the line, but then force another set after trapping Brett Finch in goal. All the momentum with the home side at the moment, just no tries to show for it.
36 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Finch breaks through some soft defence as runs the ball at the line and plants it down. The Eels going in strong to the break here with just a few minutes remaining. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 16-2
HALFTIME Parramatta Eels 16 Wests Tigers 2 It's been all the Eels despite the Tigers holding a lion's share of possession between the 20th and 35th minute. Some flashy tries early made way for some basic metre-eating play later in the half but everything Parramatta touches so far has turned to gold - everything that is except for Burt & Cayless's disastrous calamity at kickoff - Burt letting the ball bouncing into the unexpecting arms of Cayless, who dropped the ball. Luckily Luke Burt pulled off a short drop out for the third time in 2007 and earned them possession back.
The Tigers can win this one if they stop forcing offloads, but they will need to go up the middle with the Eels' sliding defence doing wonders to keep the home side tryless after forty minutes.
Stay tuned and we'll be back with the second half in just a few moments.
41 min: Back underway at the Olympic Stadium for the second half here.
45 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Back-rower Feleti Mateo is in under the posts and the Eels look ready to run away with this one - the Tigers just not wrapping up the ball carrier. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 22-2
47 min: The Eels earn a penalty after a late shot from Fulton on Luke Burt on tackle five. Eels to attack now.
48 min: TRY Parramatta Eels A freak try is scored - Ben Smith reaches out and the Video Referee smiles favourably on him to put Parramatta more than four tries clear. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt unsuccessful. Parramatta Eels 26-2
56 min: INJURY Wests Tigers Brett Hodgson is in bad shape after a head clash with PJ Marsh. He remains prostrate on the ground as time is called off.
58 min: INJURY UPDATE Wests Tigers Hodgson is up and about and the Tigers are now really pressuring the Eels line.
60 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Shut the gate, Luke Burt's away, going in under the posts. Sensational try and the Eels ripping the Tigers to pieces here. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 32-2
65 min: TRY Wests Tigers Chris Lawrence scores and the Tigers are finally in, courtesy of a great Hodgson offload. Conversion attempt by Brett Hodgson successful. Parramatta Eels 32-8
69 min: SIN BIN Wests Tigers John Morris is sent to the bin for deliberately holding the player down after a break by PJ Marsh for Parramatta.
76 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Feleti Mateo nabs a double as the Eels look to cap off a sensational night of rugby league. Burt's conversion puts the Eels 30 points clear at Telstra as the Tigers fans look for the exits. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 38-8
FULLTIME Parramatta Eels 38 Wests Tigers 8 Fulltime siren has sounded, and the Eels have convincingly downed the Tigers 38-8 to end their big winning streak and extend their own, in front of a crowd of 22,245.