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Fulltime score: Round 22 New Zealand Warriors 20 v Parramatta Eels 38
The Warriors were on fire and with an early penalty goal to halfback Stacey Jones followed by a try to Wairangi Koopu, they took an 8-0 lead after just 10 minutes of play.
The Warriors then had many chances to shut the Eels out of the game, but with these opportunities wasted, the Eels managed to force their way back into the game with a try to Luke Burt with 15 minutes remaining in the first half.
The first half was very tight and with a try to each side close to halftime it seemed that this match was going down to the wire, and the Warriors lead 14-10 at the break.
Early in the second half it seemed that neither side wanted to win the contest, squandering one opportunity after another. But it was the Eels that stepped up to the plate and levelled the scores at 14 all with a try to fullback Wade McKinnon, and with the conversion to winger Luke Burt the deadlock was broken and the Eels took the lead by 16 points to 14.
Once the Eels hit the lead, there was no looking back and another 2 tries in the space of 10 minutes to Glenn Morrison and Ben Smith ensured that the Warriors were not going to produce a miracle comeback tonight.
A last minute try to Hooker Nathan Fien was nothing more than a consolation for the Warriors, who put in a woeful effort in the second half, conceding 28 points, and going down by 38 points to 20.
The Parramatta side have reminded the Rugby League community that they will be a force to be reckoned with come September, and have consolidated 2nd position with tonight?s win. The Warriors are now gone for 2005, with another inconsistent effort tonight, they can now build towards 2006.
Warriors v Eels match photos: Click here to see the photo gallery for this game
Scorers: NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS 20 Tries: Fien 2, Koopu Goals: Jones 4 PARRAMATTA EELS 38 Tries: Burt 2, B Smith 2, Morrison, McKinnon, Tahu Goals: Burt 5
Venue: Ericsson Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne Half time: Warriors 14-10
Tonight sees the 11th placed Warriors host the 2nd placed Eels at Ericsson Stadium in Auckland. The Warriors must win this game otherwise their season is as good as gone, as for the Eels, they need to win this game to give themselves some breathing space after the win by the Dragons last night in Townsville.
Changes: Eels: Henry Perenara and Adam Peek drop off the Eels 6 man bench named earlier this week. In a strange move, captain Nathan Cayless has been relegated to the bench, Aaron Cannings takes his place in the starting side with Nathan Hindmarsh to captain the Eels tonight.
The Warriors are as-per-program.
0 min: KICKOFF!
4 min: PENALTY GOAL-Warriors Stacey Jones kicks the penalty goal from 12 metres out directly in front. Warriors 2-0
10 min: TRY-Warriors Wairangi Koopi scores after repeat sets of six on the Eels' line. Conversion successful from Stacey Jones. Warriors 8-0
15 min: NEWS-The Eels have been defending for the majority of this match so far and the Warriors continue to put their defensive line under pressure. Goal-line dropout coming up for the Eels. Warriors on the attack.
22 min: NEWS-Both sides going back to basics by ensuring they get to their kick and are playing for field position.
25 min: TRY-Eels Luke Burt scores off a clever cross-field kick from John Morris. Conversion successful from Burt. Warriors 8-6
30 min: TRY-Warriors Try to Nathan Fien, poor defence from the Eels to let him through. The number of tackles the Eels have had to make is taking its toll, and the Parramatta side look fatigued. Conversion successful from Stacey Jones. Warriors 14-6
33 min: TRY-Eels Luke Burt scores in the corner after a freakish pass from Timana Tahu. Conversion unsuccessful from Burt. Warriors 14-10
HALF TIME-The Eels have done well to keep the Warriors to just a 4 point lead, and if possession evens itself out over the 80 minutes, the Warriors may be in trouble in the second half. The Warriors lead 14-10 at halftime.
Second half underway at Ericsson Stadium
45 min: NEWS-The Eels have blundered 2 opportunities in succession with poor passes close to the Warriors' line.
53 min: NEWS-Parramatta have missed another opportunity with a forward pass in an attacking position. Neither side seem to want to win this game despite what is at stake.
57 min: TRY-Eels Wade McKinnon runs through a tired Warriors defensive line to score under the posts. Conversion successful from Luke Burt. Eels 16-14
61 min: TRY-Eels The Eels take advantage of a mistake by the Warriors with a try to centre Ben Smith. Conversion successful from Luke Burt. Eels 22-14
66 min: TRY-Eels The Eels have finished the Warriors off for 2005 with a try out wide to backrower Glenn Morrison after a brilliant backline movement. Conversion unsuccessful from Luke Burt. Eels 26-14
69 min: TRY-Eels The Eels have opened the floodgates with a try to Timana Tahu. Conversion successful from Luke Burt. Eels 32-14
74 min: TRY-Eels The Eels go the length of the field to score, a great bust by Luke Burt, great support play from Ben Smith to score under the posts. Conversion successful from Luke Burt. Eels 38-14
79 min: TRY-Warriors Nathan Fien scores a consolation try for the Warriors. Conversion successful from Stacey Jones Eels 38-20
The Parramatta Eels have defeated the New Zealand Warriors by 38 points to 20 at Ericsson Stadium. In a woeful second half display from the Warriors, they lost it by 28 points to 6 with some very poor defence. ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - N Hindmarsh (Eels) 2 - L Burt (Eels) 1 - B Smith (Eels) -----------------------------------------