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The Parramatta Eels have claimed a 34-22 victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs in one of the best games of the year at Telstra Stadium tonight. The Eels led 18-10 at half time, and managed to cling onto the lead in the second half.
The match started badly for the Bulldogs with Daryl Millard letting the kickoff bounce into touch. The Eels took full advantage of the mistake with Fui Fui Moi Moi crashing over under the posts after only 60 seconds. It took the Eels only eight minutes to increase their lead to 12 points. After a Bulldogs error the Eels spread the ball wide to Grothe who scored in the corner.
The Bulldogs struck back after 18 minutes with Sonny Bill Williams dragging several defenders to the line to score. The Eels struck back six minutes later with Chad Robinson scoring almost untouched under the posts. Emphasising the tit-for-tat nature of this game, the Bulldogs struck back only four minutes later, with Cameron Phelps scoring off a Willie Tonga offload.
Just before halftime came the incident that will likely be the talking point for much of the week. After completing a tackle on Brad Morrin, Timana Tahu hit was penalised for hitting Morrin on the head. Tahu complained that he had was bitten by Morrin. Morrin was placed on report, and one view of the video of the tackle was particularly damming. It effectively is a question of how long Morrin will be suspended, as it did not appear as though Tahu was falling into his mouth.
The Eels struck first after half time, extending their lead to 12 points following Ben Smith latching onto a Brett Finch grubber. The lead was extended further to 14 points following a penalty goal in the 56th minute.
The Bulldogs struck back almost instantly, with Phelps scoring his second try off a deflected kick. As was the nature of the game, it only took the Eels four minutes to return their lead to 12 points after Tahu scored out wide.
The Bulldogs ensured there would be a nerve-wracking final 10 minutes as they narrowed the lead to eight points with Daryl Millard scoring a try. The Eels managed to hold out a nervous period of defence that saw Sonny Bill Williams be denied a try after he was ruled to have knocked on stripping the ball off Grothe in the in-goal.
The win was cemented for the Eels with two minutes to go following a brilliant Krisnan Inu try. Finch was looking to point the game out of reach with a field goal, however he was pressured and went left to Inu who put in a superb grubber and somehow managed to ground the ball ahead of several Bulldogs defenders.
The result ensures that Parramatta will not be knocked out of third place this week, while the Bulldogs remain with the peloton back on 22 points.
Match Details Bulldogs 22 vs 34 Eels
Round 21 - Full Time :: August 3rd, 2007 07:30 PM Venue: Telstra Stadium Crowd: 27,201 Referee: Sean Hampstead Half time: Eels 18-10
Canterbury Bulldogs 22 Tries: Sonny Bill Williams, Cameron Phelps (2), Daryl Millard Goals: Hazem El Masri (3/4) Parramatta Eels 34 Tries: Fui Fui Moi Moi, Eric Grothe, Chad Robinson, Ben Smith, Timana Tahu, Krisnan Inu Field Goals: Tim Smith (0/1), Krisnan Inu (0/1) Goals: Krisnan Inu (5/8)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Brett Finch (Eels) 2 Points: Krisnan Inu (Eels) 1 Point: Tim Smith (Eels)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good evening from Telstra Stadium. Tonight we have a potentially cracking game in store.
Patten is out, Cutler to fullback. Otherwise the Bulldogs are 2-17.
Chad Robinson moves into lock for the Eels, Mateo will start from the bench.
Still awaiting kickoff. Big crowd in.
Both teams taking to the field now, kickoff coming up shortly.
1 min: The Eels kick off, and Millard lets the ball bounce into touch.
1 min: VIDEO REF - For an Eels try...
1 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Following the scrum 10 out, the Eels go wide and back into the middle and Moi Moi crashes over under the posts. Conversion attempt by Krisnan Inu successful. Parramatta Eels 6-0
6 min: Cutler makes a mistake playing the ball 30 out. Inu grubbers and the ball goes into touch of a Dogs player, putting Parramatta on attack 10 out.
8 min: TRY Parramatta Eels The Eels float the ball wide to Grothe who makes a great catch and steps the cover defence to score out wide. Conversion attempt by Krisnan Inu successful. Parramatta Eels 12-0
12 min: The Bulldogs put in a good attacking set, but Millard gets taken down on the last tackle. Despite the dampness of the pitch we may have a high scoring game on our hands tonight.
17 min: The Bulldogs go on another attacking raid but are called back for a fairly dodgy forward pass - justice prevails as Parramatta throw a forward pass from the scrum base.
18 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs The Bulldogs work the ball across to Sonny Bill who drags defenders to the line and reaches out to score. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Parramatta Eels 12-6
23 min: Parramatta defend a set right on their line and pick up a penalty.
24 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Following a huge touch finding kick from the penalty, Tim Smith finds Robinson running on an angle and he scores under the posts. Conversion attempt by Krisnan Inu successful. Parramatta Eels 18-6
28 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs The Bulldogs keep the ball alive, and create an overlap with a run-around play and Tonga offloads to Phelps who scores in the corner. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri unsuccessful. Parramatta Eels 18-10
37 min: VIDEO REF - For an Eels try...
37 min: NO TRY - The Eels put up a bomb and Finch knocks it down, the ball goes wide to Inu who chips ahead and loses the ball attempting to score a highly unlikely try.
38 min: ON REPORT - Tahu accuses Brad Morrin of biting him. Video evidence shows fairly damming evidence, the Bulldogs get the penalty for Tahu retaliating.
40 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels The Eels get their 6th penalty of the half, and Inu just misses the 30 metre kick. Parramatta Eels 18-10
The Eels lead 18-10 at half time. They were run down with a 10 point lead last week by Manly, and the Broncos nearly ran them down the week before. Can they hold onto their lead?
Both sides returning to the field now.
40 min: Back underway at Telstra Stadium...
45 min: Parramatta put a grubber through and Sonny Bill knocks on trying to dive on the ball. Parramatta go on attack 10 out.
46 min: VIDEO REF - For an Eels try...
46 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Finch puts in a grubber kick for Ben Smith who scores easily. Conversion attempt by Krisnan Inu unsuccessful. Parramatta Eels 22-10
49 min: A possible Dogs 40/20 is broken up by a cruel bounce of the ball. It bounces once and on the second bounce comes to a complete stop for Hayne to bat the ball back infield.
54 min: The Dogs are already playing catch up footy and they run into touch 40 out from their own line.
56 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels Hickey is penalised for a flop and Inu lands the goal from 15 out, right in front. Parramatta Eels 24-10
58 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Roberts throws an amazing offload to Tonga who kicks, the ball deflects off Parramatta players and Phelps scores out wide. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Parramatta Eels 24-16
62 min: TRY Parramatta Eels The Eels spread the ball wide to Tahu on the last tackle and he scores in the corner. Conversion attempt by Krisnan Inu unsuccessful. Parramatta Eels 28-16
68 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs The Bulldogs are not done. Millard latches onto a Maitua offload and he gets across the line out wide. Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Parramatta Eels 28-22
72 min: The Bulldogs finishing all over the Eels, making more yards on attack and very punishing on defence. Sherwin puts in a poor kick to end a good set.
74 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Parramatta Eels Smith nearly lands a field goal, but the ball goes under the crossbar. Parramatta Eels 28-22
75 min: The Bulldogs make a break, and Hickey puts a kick into the ingoal, but the Bulldogs get a penalty.
75 min: VIDEO REF - For a Bulldogs try...
75 min: NO TRY - The Bulldogs put in a kick on tackle two, Sonny Bill strips the ball off Grothe and beats Hayne to the ball, but the strip is ruled a knock on.
76 min: Inu gets a penalty after he gets the ball in space and is knocked out of the chase after chipping ahead. Eels on attack 10 out.
78 min: VIDEO REF - For a Parramatta try...
78 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Finch goes for the field goal but he is pressured out of it and runs left. He passes wide to Inu who grubbers ahead, gets pushed out of the field of play but somehow gets a toe to the grass just before he grounds the ball in the corner. Conversion attempt by Krisnan Inu successful. Parramatta Eels 34-22
80 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Parramatta Eels Inu attempts a 40 metre field goal right on fulltime that drifts wide right. Parramatta Eels 34-22
The Eels claim an enthralling 34-22 win over the Bulldogs.
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Brett Finch 2 Points: Krisnan Inu 1 Point: Tim Smith