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Parramatta did not take the lead in the match until the 79th minute and looked under the pump for almost the entire match as they did against the Warriors last week but with two consecutive victories, the Eels are showing signs of improvement and with several injured players due back in the next couple of weeks, their season may not be over just yet.
The Cowboys must be shattered at losing their third match in succession in such demoralizing circumstances. A victory would have had the Cowboys in the hunt for a top eight berth but with Manly and St George Illawarra both posting victories, the road to the finals has just become that much tougher.
Nathan Hindmarsh and John Morris were the best for the Eels and Brian Smith can breathe a little easier for another week.
Leagueunlimited.com Player of the Year Awards: 3 - N Hindmarsh (Eels) 2 - J Morris (Eels) 1 - K Campion (Cowboys)
Saturday 21 June 2003 7:30 PM Parramatta Stadium Referee: Rod Lawrence
Eels 24 Tries: Widders, Graham, Hodgson, Veaeliki Goals: Hodgson 2/2, Witt 2/2
Cowboys 22 Tries: Sweeney, Sheppard, Morrison, Morgan. Goals: Hannay 3/5
A must win match for both sides with the Cowboys a chance to sneak into the top eight while the Eels can move up the table and also back into finals contention with a win over the Cowboys.
5th min: PENALTY GOAL - Cowboys. Josh Hannay gets the Cowboys off the mark with a penalty goal. Cowboys 2-0.
10th min: TRY - Cowboys. Neil Sweeney gets the Cowboys first try of the evening. Conversion unsuccessful. Cowboys 6-0.
22nd min: TRY - Cowboys. Chris Sheppard scores to further extend the Cowboys lead. Conversion successful. Cowboys 12-0.
33rd min: Leading up to half time the Eels have made a whopping eight handling errors to keep themselves scoreless as the Cowboys continue to play some entertaining footy. Cowboys 12-0.
HALF TIME: Errors are killing the Eels and the Cowboys have the match well in hand at the moment with the Eels needing something special to get them home in the second half.
45th min: Still no change in the scores and time is runnign out for the Eels and a loss to the Cowboys will surely end their slim finals hopes for 2003.
46th min: TRY - Cowboys. Morrison crosses for the Cowboys to extend their lead out to 18 points and it's a tough hill to climb for the Eels. Conversion successful. Cowboys 18-0.
53rd min: TRY - Eels. Parramatta finally get on the board through Dean Widders but they still have a long way to go to win this match. Conversion successful. Cowboys 18-6.
60th min: TRY - Cowboys. Aaron Morgon scores what looks to be the match winner against a disappointing Parramatta side. The Cowboys are now in the top eight for 24 hours at least. Conversion unsuccessful. Cowboys 22-6.
67th min: Still no change in the scores so Parramatta's season looks all but over. Cowboys 22-6.
69th min: TRY - Eels. Ashley Graham scores to give the Eels a late sniff. Conversion successful. Cowboys 22-12.
73rd min: TRY - Eels. Brett Hodgson crosses to make the last five minutes very interesting. Conversion successful. Cowboys 22-18.
77th min: TRY - Eels. Parramatta have hit the lead for the first time in the match with a try to David Veaeliki which has been converted. Eels 24-22.
FULL TIME: Parramatta have pulled out a late vicotry to keep their finals hopes alive. The Cowboys have now gone down in a heartbreaker for the third week in a row. Congratulations to the Eels.