25 rounds, 192 games, #Origin on a Sunday, and a September Grand Final.
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An inspired move by Parramatta Eels coach Brad Arthur to put Chris Sandow at fullback has helped the Eels to a comfortable 22-12 win over an origin depleted Canterbury Bulldogs side in front of just over 24,000 fans at ANZ Stadium.
The biggest surprise of the day was from the opening set when Parramatta Eels halfback Chris Sandow began the game in both attack and defence; meanwhile the Bulldogs pulled their own positional changes with Michael Ennis playing most of the game at halfback.
The first quarter of the match was an even contest with most of the play taking place through the middle section of the field, both sides had their own chances to score but poor play in attack and some good defence stopped the play.
The opening points came through the NRL's own Semi-Trailer, Semi Radradra. The opening try came through a 95m intercept when attacking from the Scrum the Bulldogs threw an intercept and the Eels opened the scoring.
From there it only took the Eels five minutes to extend their lead out to 10-0 when Chris Sandow sliced through some flimsy defence to set up Vai Toutai in the corner, Sandow missed the conversion from out wide and the score remained at 10-0.
The second half started well for the Bulldogs with Corey Thompson showing some good skill to keep himself inside the field of play and after video referee review get the green lights to bring the score back to 10-6.
That was as close as the Bulldogs got all afternoon with the Eels able to score successive tries including Vai Toutai's second in the 57th minute, then Ryan Morgan crossed for his own pair of tries in the 67th and 74th minutes, all three tries went unconverted and the score remained at 22-6.
Approaching the final siren, Corey Thompson scored after the Eels weren't able to clean up the ball at the back and with the conversion the score came back to 22-12.
Next weekend, the Bulldogs welcome back their Origin stars for a road trip down to the nation's capital when they take on the Canberra Raiders, meanwhile the Eels don't have an easy task when they travel down to Melbourne to take on the Storm at AAMI Park next Sunday.
TEAM CHANGES: A couple of changes for the Bulldogs - Reni Maitua drops back to the bench with Josh Jackson moving to five-eighth, with Corey Thompson coming into the side in jersey 19, Lloyd Perrett drops off the extended bench
The Parramatta Eels are out on the field at ANZ Stadium
The Bulldogs will kick off and the Parramatta Eels have the first possession
1: Parra kick on the last and Sam Perrett takes it on the full and the Bulldogs work it up towards halfway on tackle 3
2: Bulldogs make it to the 30m line in their first set then go to the air with the big Semi taking it on his own line comfortably
3: Some sneaky positional changes from the Eels early - Chris Sandow defending during the opening sets at Fullback
5: Chris Sandow loses his shorts and manages to get through the defensive line and almost scores
6: Despite starting the set on their own goalline, the Bulldogs get to halfway before kicking it to the ingoal where its cleaned up by Radradra
7: A conservative end to the set for the Eels with the kick being put over the sideline about 20m out from the Dogs line
11: Poor end to the set from Michael Ennis, puts the ball out on the full and the Eels start their set around halfway
15: Damien Cook goes himself from dummy half on the last but Parramatta hold him up easily short of the line
16: AMAZING flick back from Sam Perrett to leap outside of the field of play to stop a 40/20
18: TRY PARRAMATTA EELS
Scored by Semi Radradra. Kick to come.
The big Semi takes a beautiful intercept to race 95m to score under the posts against the run of play
24: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION PARRAMATTA EELS
Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow unsuccessful.
Chris Sandow goes for the hook on the conversion but puts a bit too much on it and the touch judges wave it away
29: PENALTY BULLDOGS: Eels penalised for being offside, Bulldogs take the tap on the 10m line
31: A poor set of six from the Dogs in attack again, sees Chris Sandow take the kick easily on his own try line
33: Well that was different..... Chris Sandow throws the pass over the touch in goal line after cleaning up the kick
35: PENALTY BULLDOGS: Parramatta penalised for making a second effort before Michael Ennis threatens to throw the ball at the Eels defender
38: Chris Sandow looks to be the genius man of the game today - goes short with the dropout then Parra end up with the ball after the clean up was messed up by the Dogs
39: Parramatta make some good space for themselves in attack but end up throwing an intercept
39: Sam Perrett is off the field and straight up the tunnel
40: Half Time at ANZ Stadium and the Eels are leading by 10-0
40: The Parramatta Eels back out on the field and will be looking to extend their lead
40: Who Let the Dogs Out bursts out around ANZ Stadium which means the Bulldogs are also back out on field
40: Play back underway and its the Bulldogs with first possession and they defend the Northern End of ANZ Stadium
48: The Bulldogs push in the scrum and look to win it against the feed but Henry Perenara calls it back because everyone broke early from it
50: Krisnan Inu down injured - Video Referees asked to check for a possible crusher tackle
52: PENALTY EELS: Some good work from Chris Sandow earns himself the penalty
55: PENALTY EELS: Bulldogs penalised for a strip and the Eels start the set on the 40m line
55: PENALTY EELS: Bulldogs penalised yet again for a strip
64: This is a strip fest at ANZ Stadium - that's the fifth penalty for a strip this afternoon
65: Some messy play ends up with a handover for the Bulldogs 10m out
73: Bulldogs attack on the goalline and then throw an intercept to Ken Edwards
78: UNFORCED ERROR PARRAMATTA EELS
Semi Radradra makes an unforced error.
Semi Radradra drops the ball after Willie Tonga throws a pass that might as well be aimed back to Lidcombe with the power it was thrown with
80: That's FULL TIME at ANZ Stadium and the Parramatta Eels have scored a 22-12 victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs