Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Parramatta Eels 28 v Wests Tigers 16
at Parramatta Stadium
Referees: Tony Archer
The Parramatta Eels have answered their critics tonight with a victory over the Wests Tigers in front of a healthy Parramatta Stadium crowd to kick off Round 7.
Despite a disallowed Tigers try within the first 5 minutes, the Eels started with a bang and raced out to a 12-0 lead with only 15 minutes gone. There was a drop in intensity after this strong start by the Eels, and the Tigers clawed back a try in the 20th minute to give us a 14-6 halftime scoreline in favour of the home side.
The Tigers were once again slow off the mark in the second half, but when they clicked they were near on impossible to stop. Two tries in three minutes suddenly put the Tigers in front, and the Eels were starting to look pretty shaky.
Unfortunately the Tigers, missing too many key players, couldn't keep the spark alive. The Eels were able to regain their composure (and the lead) with two further tries, and closed out the match well against the Tigers free-flowing style.
Nathan Hindmarsh was once again a tower of strength for the Eels, and he was well supported by a strong forward effort that featured the return of Fui Fui Moi Moi. On the down side, Justin Tsoulos suffered a dislocated shoulder early in the second half that could see him out for an extended period.
Robbie Farah was the pick of the Tigers, and managed to keep Isaac De Gois on the bench for the full 80 minutes. There were glimpses of their famous attacking style, but it couldn't be maintained with any serious pressure. Shannon McDonnell put in a sterling effort filling in for Brett Hodgson, however Daniel Fitzhenry sometimes looked a bit lost in the #6 jersey.
Parramatta Eels: 28
Tries: Glenn Morrison, Chad Robinson, Tim Smith , Timana Tahu
Goals: Brett Delaney 6/6
Wests Tigers: 16
Tries: Dean Collis, Paul Whatuira, Shannon McDonnell
Goals: Scott Prince 2/3
By the Clock:
Welcome to Parramatta Stadium as we prepare to kick off Round 7 with a match between the 2005 Premiers and the 2005 Minor Premiers!
Late change: Isaac De Gois slots on to the Tigers bench in place of Bryce Gibbs. The Eels are as named from 1-17.
The Tigers kick off, and we're underway!
4 min: VIDEO REF - checking a possible Tigers try ...
4 min: NO TRY - Tigers
A Daniel Fitzhenry kick takes a wicked bounce in the Eels in-goal. Jamaal Lolesi performs some acrobatics in attempting to force the ball, but his foot was only just on the dead ball line.
6 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
From a scrum win 30 metres out, Timana Tahu runs around Shane Elford and crosses for the opening try of the night.
Brett Delaney kicks the extras.
11 min: Justin Tsoulos (Eels) tries a miracle offload 10 metres away from the Tigers try-line, but the ball is lost.
14 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
A simple try to Chad Robinson here, crashing over after a couple of long passes from dummy-half. The Tigers are looking a wee bit shellshocked so far tonight.
19 min: Eric Grothe takes a great catch in his own in-goal to defuse a Scott Prince bomb.
20 min: VIDEO REF - a possible Tigers try ...
20 min: TRY Wests Tigers
A short-side play from the Tigers finds some space, and Dean Collis crosses the line despite an attempted tackle from Wade McKinnon.
Scott Prince nails the conversion from out wide.
26 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels
Anthony Laffranchi is penalised for a late (?) shot on John Morris. Brett Delaney pots another two points from right in front.
33 min: John Morris puts in a cross-field kick that is well claimed by Shane Elford on his own goal-line. A penalty follows straight away to help the Tigers out of their own territory.
34 min: Timana Tahu picks up a loose ball and races 40 metres before being caught by Shannon McDonnell.
38 min: A dropped ball from the Eels gives the Tigers good field position just before halftime ... but they can't convert the advantage into points.
HALFTIME: Parramatta Eels 14 Wests Tigers 6
The Tigers will be pleased to be only 8 points behind after the first forty. The Eels are showing a little more desperation tonight, and that could well be the difference in the final result.
Possession: Eels 48% Tigers 52%
Completion: Eels 16/22 Tigers 16/22
Total metres: Eels 656 Tigers 561
Offloads: Eels 7 Tigers 2
The second half is underway!
41 min: Justin Tsoulos looks to have suffered a shoulder injury after completing a tackle, and doesn't look too happy as he leaves the field.
43 min: The Eels lose their way slightly on attack - Paul Stringer puts a grubber kick through on the last tackle that is easily claimed by the Tigers.
45 min: The Eels are making plenty of yards up the middle at the moment. Wade McKinnon moons the crowd as he loses his shorts after a 30-metre dash.
48 min: TRY Wests Tigers
The Tigers have suddenly burst into life! Chris Heighington passes to himself (!) in a movement that puts Paul Whatuira across for his 7th try of the season.
Scott Prince's kick is waved away.
51 min: TRY Wests Tigers
Robbie Farah makes a clean break well inside his own half, and Shannon McDonnell backs him up to finish the job. A great Tigers try!
Scott Prince lands the kick, and the Tigers take the lead.
53 min: ON REPORT - Zeb Taia (Eels), for a swinging arm on Ben Galea. Penalties currently 7-4 in the Tigers favour.
56 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
Jeremy Smith puts Nathan Cayless into a huge gap with an inside pass, and Tim Smith is on hand to finish the movement and reclaim the lead.
60 min: Both teams are really throwing the ball around now. We're in for an exciting finish to this one!
63 min: VIDEO REF - possible Tigers try ...
63 min: NO TRY - Shannon McDonnell chases a Scott Prince grubber through, but is ruled to have knocked-on while diving on the ball.
Injury update - Justin Tsoulos has a dislocated shoulder.
66 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
The Eels run it on the last - Tim Smith picks up Glenn Morrison with a short pass, and Morrison breaks a couple of tackles and runs 20 metres to score.
Delaney adds the extras.
74 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels
The Eels have been camped inside Tigers territory for the last six minutes, and come away with 2 points to Brett Delaney after Scott Prince is penalised for a high tackle.
75 min: The Tigers get the ball back from a short kick-off ... it's do or die time!
76 min: Shane Elford knocks-on out wide, handing possession to the Eels.
FULLTIME: Parramatta Eels 28 Wests Tigers 16
The Eels have eased the pressure somewhat with a solid victory tonight over a spirited Tigers team.
Possession: Eels 51% Tigers 49%
Completion: Eels 31/41 Tigers 26/39
Missed tackles: Eels 19 Tigers 47
Offloads: Eels 11 Tigers 4
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)
2 - Robert Farah (Tigers)
1 - Nathan Cayless (Eels)