FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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The Pirtek Parramatta Eels must now fight for their season after losing to the Titans in a disappointing second half, going down 34-12.
Parramatta started with intensity, and Fuifui Moimoi embodied that when he made a break up the middle of the field in the first 10 minutes.
The Eels were forced to defend on their own line for a spell soon after but resisted every raid, with one set ended with a spectacular catch by Krisnan Inu under pressure. In the 19th minute Parramatta scored the first points of the match, making the most of a Clinton Toopi knock on.
Jarryd Hayne picked up a loose pass and threw one on the ground to Joel Reddy, who straightened up and stepped through the Titans' defence to score.
A Titans mistake gave the Eels their second scoring opportunity when Mat Rogers' attempt at a 40/20 went out on the full. Close to the Titans' line Daniel Mortimer threw the ball wide to Hayne, who skipped through tackles to give Parramatta a 12-0 lead at the break.
The Titans came out with new vigour in the second half and on the back of penalties were able to ge back into the game.
A penalty against Ben Smith for a late hit on Scott Prince led to a try to Mat Rogers from a deft inside pass.
Then Moimoi was put on report after tackling Prince. Given multiple sets on the Eels' line, the Titans eventually scored through Kevin Gordon, chasing a kick in behind the line.
In the 60th minute the Titans pulled ahead for the first time when a bomb went untouched by everyone. Bodene Thompson picked up the scraps and after tussling with Jeff Robson, eventually grounded the ball.
Rogers made another attempt at a 40/20 soon after, and this time it paid off for the veteran five-eighth. From that set Mark Minichiello found a gap in the defence and scored.
With eight minutes remaining the Titans pulled further ahead when Preston Campbell grubbered for the in-goal. Despite watching numerous replays to check if William Zillman knocked on, the video referee awarded a benefit-of-the-doubt try.
The bounce refused to go the Eels' way in the second half, and with two minutes remaining the Titans finished the match with a try to Thompson after a kick bounced wildly away from Eels players into the arms of Thompson, giving them a 34-12 win.
PARRAMATTA EELS 12 (Joel Reddy, Jarryd Hayne tries; Luke Burt 2 goals) GOLD COAST TITANS 34 (Bodene Thompson 2, Mat Rogers, Kevin Gordon, Mark Minichiello, William Zillman tries; Scott Prince 5 goals) at Skilled Park. Crowd: 19,568.