The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Fulltime score: Round 17 Parramatta Eels 52 v South Sydney Rabbitohs 16
The game couldn?t have begun any worse for the Eels though, dropping the ball in-goal off the kick-off and being forced to restart from their try line. The Rabbitohs pressured early but possession soon swung the way of Parra and they went on to score three tries in the early stages of the match. Poor goal kicking failed to press their advantage however, with Souths scoring in the 20th minute and converting to make it 14-6 and allowing them to remain competitive on the board.
Both teams then traded blows for the rest of the half with the Eels coming out on top and carrying a 26-12 lead into the break. But the second half was very much one way traffic with the Eels laying on another 26 points in a ten-try romp that saw them run out 52-16 winners.
It was an awesome display from Parra who are firming as serious contenders to this year?s title. Tim Smith and John Morris ran the show with an exceptional passing and kicking game between the two of them. The outside backs saw plenty of ball and the forwards kept moving ahead all day long. Dean Widders was his usual explosive self from the bench and played hard setting up many opportunities throughout the second half.
For Souths, they go back to the drawing board after two heavy losses leaving them with little encouragement for the rest of the year. They have been the subject of much discussion regarding player movements for next season and really need to get some big name players to the club.
An unfortunate incident in the 29th minute saw fullback Todd Polglase become heavily concussed and taken from the field after Eels prop Adam Peek ran over the top of him whilst scoring a try. Adam MacDougall also left the field with a head injury yet again as Souths fans struggle to get any value whatsoever out of him.
A distasteful post-script to the match has seen Dean Widders the target of a racial slur by a Souths player. Widders was upset over the incident but it remains to be seen whether it goes any further as he needs to make an official complaint.
PARRAMATTA EELS Tries: Graham 2, McKinnon 2, T.Smith, Cayless, Peek, Morris, Williams, Grothe Goals: Riddell 3/6, Morris 3/3 SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS Tries: A.MacDougall, Walker, Watts Goals: Watts 2/3
What a day it is here in Sydney, with the Parramatta Eels at home taking on the South Sydney with the ground bathed in sunshine. Strong crowd building.
For Parra: Peterson out, Williams in on the wing.
For Souths: Geddes in for Hall.
1 min: Mistake from the kick-off by John Morris who knocks-on in goal. Parra drop-out to restart.
2 min: Near niss for Souths as Fletcher fails to ground the ball for the first try of the match.
3 min: TRY - Eels. Tim Smith scores under the posts as Parra turn the ball back on the inside with a questionable pass. Riddell converts easily. Eels 6 Rabbitohs 0.
7 min: TRY - Eels. Smith again involved as he puts Ashley Graham over in the corner. Riddell fails to convert. Eels 10 Rabbitohs 0.
12 min: TRY - Eels. Things are starting to get embarrassing for the Bunnies as Watts throws a ball in the in goal and Nathan Cayless dives on the loose pill. Riddell misses from an easy position. Eels 14 Rabbitohs 0.
15 min: Parra enjoying the lion's share of the possession and
20 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. Adam MacDougall charges over to post the Bunnie's first try as they awake from their slumber. Bradd Watts slots the goal. Eels 14 Rabbitohs 6.
25 min: TRY - Eels. The home team hits back through fullback Wade McKinnon. Morris takes over the kicking duties and extends the lead to 14. Eels 20 Rabbitohs 6.
29 min: TRY - Eels. Adam Peek steamrolls over the top of Todd Polglase to score from close range. Polglase is unfortunately injured seriously in the collission and has been stretchered from the field. Morris converts again. Eels 26 Rabbitohs 6.
33 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. After some great lead-up work from Sutton, hooker Shane Walker scampers over from dummy half and get them back in the game. Watts converts. Eels 26 Rabbitohs 12.
38 min: Eels hald-up in the in-goal through debutant Williams after Adam MacDougall grassed an opportunity for the Bunnies up the other end of the field.
Half time: And the scores remain 26-12 in favour of the Eels. Parra started the match on fire but the Bunnies cam back into the contest mid-way through the first half. The home side still have the upperhand and it will take a big effort from Souths to take control of the game.
41 min: And we're underway in the second half! Souths will be looking to get a bigger share of the possession and try to control the ball better. Parra should be happy with their effort and aim to build on their lead and without conceding any more points.
47 min: TRY - Eels. John Morris bags a try for Parra as they push further ahead early in the second half. Conversion unsuccessful. Eels 30 Rabbitohs 12.
52 min: TRY - Eels. Graham dashes 80m to score after intercepting a wayward Bunnies ball. Morris converts. Eels 36 Rabbitohs 12.
NEWS: Adam MacDougall leaves the field with a knock to the head.
60 min: TRY - Eels. John Williams scores his first try in grade footy after a good movement from the Eels gets the ball out to the flanks. Riddell misses another in a disappointing day with the boot. Eels 40 Rabbitohs 12.
67 min: TRY - Rabbitohs. A try to Brad Watts after some good lead-up work by Luke MacDougall with another very questionable pass involved. Watts fails to convert. Eels 40 Rabbioths 16.
72 min: TRY - Eels. McKinnon gets a double as he takes advantage of some sloppy defense from a scrum. Riddell kicks a good one from out wide. Eels 46 Rabbitohs 16.
75 min: TRY - Eels. Grothe scores next to the posts as the ball travels wide before the flying winger comes back on the inside to post the Eels' tenth try of the day. Riddell converts. Eels 52 Rabbitohs 16.
Fulltime: The Eels run out 52-16 winners in a powerful display at home.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - J Morris (Eels) 2 - T Smith (Eels) 1 - D Widders (Eels) -----------------------------------------