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An emphatic victory in Monday night football for the Parramatta Eels with a 40-12 victory over the Wests Tigers, taking place in front of 13,065 fans at sometimes rain-soaked Parramatta Stadium.
The Eels bolted from the blocks early and left the Tigers' feeble defence in their wake, with Taulima Tautai, Fuifui Moimoi and Nathan Hindmarsh all crossing to take the home side to a commanding 18-0 lead after 25 minutes.
They then extended their lead to 22 points before a runaway try to Benji Marshall put the Tigers back in the game, albeit briefly. This took us to halftime, as a storm moved in over the area, and the rain began to bucket down.
The Tigers managed to keep the Eels at bay for much of the first part of the second half, a try seeing then come within 10 points shortly after the 50 minute mark. This was all negated when Taniela Tuiaki failed to handle the ball from kickoff, and the Eels scored from the following set, extending the lead back out to 16 points.
From there the home side went on with the job of closing their so-far disastrous for-and-against gap on their opponents, a further two tries before fulltime putting the result beyond any doubt and putting massive question marks over the Tigers' finals hopes with just three rounds remaining.
The Eels standout was Brett Finch, directing traffic with ease as the forwards steamrolled the much smaller Tigers outfit. However, despite being in a clearly worse side, much can be said for the efforts of Tigers' forward Chris Heighington, refusing to give up in a side that simply didn't have the goods.
Things can only get worse for the Tigers - they've got Manly and the Sharks at ANZ and Leichhardt before they travel north to face the Titans. The Eels on the other hand should account for the Bulldogs next week before bumper clashes with the Dragons and Warriors in their run home.
Match Details Parramatta Eels 40 def Wests Tigers 12 Round 23 - Monday August 18th, 2008 7:00pm Venue: Parramatta Stadium Referee: Matt Cecchin Touch Judges: Tony De Las Heras, Peter Kirby Video Referee: Tim Mander Halftime: Eels 22 Tigers 6 Crowd: 13,065
Parramatta Eels 40 Tries: Taulima Tautai (2), Fuifui Moimoi, Nathan Hindmarsh, Jarryd Hayne (2), Feleti Mateo Goals: Krisnan Inu (6/8)
Wests Tigers 12 Tries: Benji Marshall, Chris Heighington Goals: Brett Hodgson (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Brett Finch (Eels) 2 Points: Taulima Tautai (Eels) 1 Point: Chris Heighington (Tigers)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary We're at Parramatta Stadium tonight for this make-or-break clash between two teams sitting precariously on the outside of the top eight. The Tigers are in a slightly less cutthroat position - and the Eels can kiss 2008 goodbye with a loss as they sit just above Souths in 13th place.
Both teams are 1-17 as seen below.
EELS: 1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Taulima Tautai 3. Krisnan Inu 4. Joel Reddy 5. Tony Williams 6. Kristopher Keating 7. Brett Finch 8. Nathan Cayless (c) 9. Matthew Keating 10. Fuifui Moimoi 11. Nathan Hindmarsh 12. Chad Robinson 13. Feleti Mateo Interchange: 15. Josh Cordoba 16. Todd Lowrie 17. Junior Paulo 19. Weller Hauraki TIGERS: 1. Brett Hodgson (c) 2. Taniela Tuiaki 3. Dene Halatau 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Beau Ryan 6. Benji Marshall 7. Robbie Farah 8. Keith Galloway 9. John Morris 10. Bryce Gibbs 11. Bronson Harrison 12. Chris Heighington 13. Liam Fulton Interchange: 14. Ryan O