The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The Parramatta Eels have reigned supreme 74-4 over the Cronulla Sharks amid extreme controversy at Parramatta Stadium this evening. Referee Shayne Hayne sent two Sharks players from the field for different reasons including captain David Peachey for dissent and also sent Danny Nutley to the sin bin for ten minutes and the Eels went on a try scoring rampage, bagging 14 in total with five to Jamie Lyon.
The first 30 minutes of the match were fairly evenly contested but just before half time the signs were there that the game was about to erupt with some spite and niggle coming into the match.
Not long after half time the inevitable happened and the match exploded with David Peachey sent off and then Dale Newton followed soon after. From there on the Eels were never in any danger and managed to keep their very slim finals hopes alive and with such a big win, the Eels achieved two things; firstly they leapfrogged the Dragons into ninth spot and secondly they erased their negative points differential to finish the night with a +4 points differential.
The Eels must now rely on the Knights losing their remaining games and the Eels winning theirs and then an unlikely finals berth will be theirs. It is always tough when your destiny is out of your own hands but stranger things have happened while the Sharks will have to try and regroup and play out the remaining two games to get some pride back into the Sharks jumper.
All in all, an entertaining evening of football amid high drama and controversy.
Leagueunlimited.com player of the year points:
Scorers: EELS 74 Tries: Morris, Petersen, Lyon x 5, Vaealiki, Moodie, Graham x 2, Cayless, Hopkins, Webster. Goals: Witt 4/6, Morris 1/2, Dykes 4/5, Hindmarsh 0/1.
SHARKS 4 Tries: Gallen Goals: Andeson 0/1
By the clock: 1st min: Kickoff on a wet and cold night with both sides only playing for pride.
16th min: Still no score in a very evenly contested match with the Eels and Sharks both playing a very expansive game.
17th min: TRY - Sharks. Some poor Eels defence lets Paul Gallen crash over out wide. The try came after Michael Sullivan kicked a contentious 40/20 call. Conversion unsuccessful. Sharks 4-0.
23rd min: TRY - Eels. John Morris throws a dummy from dummy half and goes over untouched. Shayne Hayne has been his usual whistle happy self and piggybacked the Eels down the field. Conversion successful. Eels 6-4.
29th min: TRY - Eels. Michael Witt drops a nice ball behind the Sharks defence and side show bob(Petersen) is there to pick up the scraps. Touchline conversion successful. Eels 12-4.
33rd min: TRY - Eels. A quick play the ball by Nathan Hindmarsh to Adam Dykes and Dykes moves left, passes right to Jamie Lyon who zig zags his way to the line and through some soft defence. Another great conversion from Michael Witt. Eels 18-4.
37th min: TRY - Eels. A great long range try to David Vaealiki and it was started by John Morris who has been by far and away the best player on the field at present. At this rate the Eels will leapfrog the Dragons into 9th position with two rounds to play. Conversion successful. Eels 24-4.
HALF TIME: The Eels hold a commanding 20 point lead and the highlight of the first half was a stoush between Darren Treacy and David Peachey right on half time. Shayne Hayne will have to work hard in the second half to keep the lid on some simmering feelings between these two sides.
NEWS: David Peachey has been sent off by Shayne Hayne after saying something derogatory to the referee. Initially, Peachey was given ten in the bin but said something on his way off the field. Hayne tried to call him back but Peachey kept on walking and then was told he could not return.
49th min: TRY - Eels. Jason Moodie has scored an easy try after Danny Nutley was given ten as the Sharks battle on with 11 men. Shades of Bill Harrigan in Newcastle last year. Conversion unsuccessful. Eels 28-4.
51st min: TRY - Eels. Ashley Graham scores a long range try as the Sharks struggle with 11 men. Conversion unsuccessful. Eels 32-4.
NEWS: Dale Newton has been sent off as the Sharks are down to ten men. I must say the send off was warranted for a blatant high shot. Parramatta could well catch St George Illawarra now.
54th min: TRY - Eels. Jamie Lyon extends the Eels lead as the Sharks hit rock bottom. Conversion unsuccessful Eels 36-4.
56th min: TRY - Eels. Parra are scoring faster than I can type. Lyon gets his third of the evening and the carnage is far from done. Conversion successful. Eels 42-4.
58th min: TRY - Eels. Nathan Cayless gets a rare try as this game deteriorates into a farce. Conversion successful. Eels 48-6.
60th min: TRY - Eels. Lee Hopkins get in on the act with a simple kick over the top that sees him score untouched. Conversion successful. Eels 54-4.
62nd min: TRY - Eels. Ashley Graham gets his second as the score reaches embarrassing levels. Conversion unsuccessful. Eels 58-4.
68th min: TRY - Eels. Jamie Lyon gets his fourth of the night as the Eels officially pass the Dragons on the ladder. Conversion successful. Eels 64-4.
76th min: TRY - Eels. James Webster scores to set a club record for Parramatta. I'm not sure they would be too proud of the circumstances under which it was achieved. Conversion successful. Eels 70-4.
79th min: TRY - Eels. Jamie Lyon sets a club record with five tries and the Eels set a record for their biggest ever win since their inception in 1947. Conversion unsuccessful. Eels 74-4.
FULL TIME: Arguably the nastiest game of foot ball I have ever seen. Two Sharks players sent fromt the field including captain David Peachey and from there on, it was all one way traffic as the Eels erased a 66 point negative points differential and leapfrogged the Dragons into 9th place. This will be big news in tomorrows papers.