The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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With their coach, their halfback and a few other players missing from their outfit, the Cowboys were always going to have to be right on their ball game to beat the Eels.
Unfortunately for them, the Parramatta side were on fire for the full eighty minutes and outplayed the visitors in every aspect of the game.
The halftime score of 20-4 showed just how dominant the Eels had been, and it was great to see the enthusiasm from them 79 minutes into the match, just as fresh as in the 1st minute. Luke Burt with his two tries, finished up with an individual tally of 24 points in the match.
Other stand out performers were Mark Riddell, an injured Feleti Mateo, and their leader, Nathan Cayless. Steve Southern tried all night as always for the Cowboys, and Faumuina, aside from 2 penalties against him, looked menacing at times on attack.
The Cowboys, when they did have good ball for the most, looked flat. Although Jason Smith, replacing Thurston at halfback for the Cowboys, tried all night to conjure up the tricks, the defence of the Eels for the majority of the game was outstanding.
The Eels will play their next game against the Warriors in Round 11 while the Cowboys will be up against the Bulldogs.
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Luke Burt 2 Points: Mark Riddell 1 Point: Nathan Cayless
Live commentary Both teams start as per programme. A nice crowd in for the match at Parramatta Stadium.
1 min: Luke Burt gets the game underway.
5 min: A tentative start by both sides. Parramatta receive the first penalty of the match for a flop by Faumuina.
8 min: Southern breaks through soft defence from the Eels. The Cowboys have a great chance to score but an error dries up the attack.
11 min: TRY Parramatta Eels A penalty once again given away by Faumuina sees the Eels attack 20 metres out from their line. A terrific pass by Smith to a flying Mateo has 4 points under the posts. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 6-0
13 min: TRY Parramatta Eels From the kick off, the Eels are once again on their line on the fifth tackle. A nice chip in goal by Tim Smith for Burt is hurriedly kicked away only to be juggled by Ben Smith who scores. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 12-0
15 min: With his conversion, Luke Burt becomes the first Eels player ever to score 500 points at Parramatta Stadium.
18 min: Henry lucky not to have been sin binned for a professional foul close to the Parramatta line, deliberately slowing down the play.
19 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels An easy kick for Burt following the penalty. Parramatta Eels 14-0
21 min: Graham looks to have scored out wide following a bouncing cut out pass by Jason Smith. The touchie makes the call, the try disallowed.
22 min: Mateo 60 metres out from his line, regathers his chip kick only to kick the ball again on the run, resulting in a goal line dropout for his side.
25 min: Grothe seemed a little casual following a kick in goal, especially with Bowen flying at him, resulting in the first goal line dropout for the Cowboys in the match.
26 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys Jason Smith holds up his pass just enough for Faumuina to steam onto the ball and over Tim Smith to score his first try as a Cowboy. Conversion attempt by Ashley Graham unsuccessful. Parramatta Eels 14-4
29 min: Mateo, having a great game tonight, unfortunately is aided from the field with some sort of leg/knee injury. Robinson, returning from injury, replaces him.
33 min: The Cowboys starting to mount up a bit of possession. Unfortunately for them, their options on attack not flowing as well as usual.
36 min: Another line dropout for the Cowboys. The defence from the Eels holding at this stage.
36 min: Burt grubbers the short kick off and regathers to nullify any attack by the Cowboys from the goal line dropout.
39 min: TRY Parramatta Eels A real team effort by the Eels, with some great offloads and passing. 6 more tackles from a penalty 30 metres out is just what the doctor ordered and Riddell is delighted to score. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 20-4
Halftime score: 20-4 to the Eels.
41 min: Bowen kicks off for the Cowboys to start the 2nd half.
43 min: Jason Smith lucky not to be sin binned for the same reason as Henry in the 1st half, slowing play down as the Eels have the Cowboys on the ropes. Riddell, Hindmarsh and Burt all joining to rip the defence apart.
44 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels Parramatta Eels 22-4
49 min: TRY Parramatta Eels The Cowboys looking very flat since the break. A second set of six allowing the Eels a wealth of possession. Robinson busts through two soft tackles to score the try. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt unsuccessful. Parramatta Eels 26-4
51 min: Mateo returns to the game.
52 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys The Cowboys hit straight back. A couple of offloads and Payne breaks through the line. Minto is there in support to score and also nets his 1st try as a Cowboy. Conversion attempt by Ashley Graham successful. Parramatta Eels 26-10
56 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Great communication by the Eels backs. A nice little grubber by Riddell is perfectly read by Burt who scores. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 32-10
60 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys The Cowboys awarded a penalty 20 metres out from their line, make full use of their advantage. A nice little offload in traffic by Faumuina helps to get the ball out wide to Graham who ducks under 2 tacklers to score. Conversion attempt by Ashley Graham unsuccessful. Parramatta Eels 32-14
64 min: A mistake by Ty Williams 20 metres out from the line once again allows the Eels great field position. The video ref deems that momentum did not help Inu over the line after some great work by the youngster. No Try to the Eels.
66 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Burt nets 2 tries tonight after Marsh breaks away to run 40 metres from halfway. Burt steaming up the insides finishes off a great run. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 38-14
71 min: The Cowboys looked to break away dangerously from their own line only to have Cannings run down Brenton Bowen. A great effort.
72 min: Back to back penalties to the Cowboys and unfortunately for them, a mistake on the first tackle right on the goal line. Graham aided from the field, not good for the Cowboys. Another leg injury.
74 min: TRY Parramatta Eels A bit of adlib football by the Eels allows their attack to be on fire yet again. Cannings busts through a hole past some tired defence to score. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 44-14
77 min: Parramatta as enthusiastic as when they started the match, look for the magic 50 points. The crowd are right behind them. The Cowboys tired defence is using all their energy they can muster to stop this from happening.
80 min: Fulltime: Grothe finishes the game with a pretty bad attempt at a field goal. Well played Parramatta coming out victors, 44-14.