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Parramatta have recorded a tense 14-12 victory over the reigning premiers, the Sydney Roosters in front of 15,312 fans at Pirtek Stadium tonight.
It was a one sided affair when these two teams met about a month ago but since then Parramatta have improved remarkably with two straight victories over the Panthers and Broncos. Sydney on the other hand were coming into this match off two narrow losses to the Sea Eagles and Bulldogs and were desperate to avoid a third.
This mission didn't get off to the best start as Parramatta dominated field position and territory as Chris Sandow sent it through the hands to put Ken Sio away for the opening try. The Eels weren't going to fade away like in Round 2, they were committed in both attack and defense.
Roosters were slightly off-beat early in the contest highlighted by fleet footed winger Daniel Tupou spurning two opportunities to get across the stripe. It was left to an unlikely source, Sam Moa who took an inside ball and didn't stop until Nirvana.
The game was characterised by some crunching defense down the middle as both sides were denied due to desperate lunges with Eels fullback Jarryd Hayne coming up with a key stop late in the second half.
If the Eels were to win though, they needed to get in front of the Roosters once again. They did that twice either side of halftime with Chris Sandow making a carbon copy of the opening try just with the boot instead of the hands. Ken Sio was once again the receipent and the winger had a brace.
Daniel Tupou wasn't to be upstaged though. The light stepping winger spied a gap between Sandow and Hayne accelerated through it and it was curtains for the defense. Roosters despite being underwhelming in the opening forty minutes held onto a slight 12 points to 10 lead over a plucky Parramatta side.
The tough slog that endured in the first half continued well into the second half, as the Roosters started to open gaps in the Eels defense but weren't able to force their way through them.
Semi Radradra was able to though - the winger who had eight tries in five games before tonight took it upon himself to get across the stripe, as he kamikazed himself into the defensive line twice within five minutes. The first was given a try despite the attentions of Sonny Bill Williams, the second was a good effort from the Roosters to hold him up.
Once again that would underline the effort of Parramatta not only tonight but thus far in 2014, they weren't going to be the easy-beats this year which has surprised a few teams including the Roosters tonight. This effort was highlighted by the stop by Jarryd Hayne two minutes from time, getting underneath a rampaging Sonny Bill and keep the ball from the turf.
Parramatta Eels 14 Sydney Roosters 12
Venue: Pirtek Stadium
Halftime Score: Parramatta Eels 10 Sydney Roosters 12
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jarryd Hayne
2 points - Chris Sandow
1 point - Semi Radradra
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
PAR: There is only one cosmetic change for the home side. Peni Teripo comes into the starting side for FuiFui who goes to the bench.
SYD: For the visitors there are several changes, starting with Aidan Guerra starting in place of Frank Paul Nuuausala. Joining Nuuausala on the bench are Kane Evans and Issac Liu in for Daniel Mortimer and Dylan Napa.
Welcome to windy Welling.. I mean Parramatta. It's a cold and wet night in Western Sydney as Parramatta host the reigning premiers.
Parramatta were humiliated in the reverse fixture only a month or so ago where they were beaten by 40 plus points. Coming off the victory over an always difficult Brisbane side, they will be looking to sneak up on the premiers.
For the Roosters - it is a strange position they find themselves in with a narrow 9-8 loss against the Bulldogs last week denting their premiership favoritism. They do welcome back Sonny Bill Williams to shore up the middle of the field and give them greater attacking options.
Here come the reigning premiers.. the Sydney Roosters who have gone down with two narrow losses in recent weeks. They are greeted to loud boos from the home faithful in their predominately white and red/blue vee jersey. Next up is the home side: wearing their blue jersey that has been quite fruitful for them this season - all their wins have come in said jersey.
1: KICK-OFF! Parramatta get us underway!
2: Well that is an energetic start for the Roosters..Boyd Cordner ran straight through the hole, surprised he had and couldn't link up with the support plus knocking it on.
4: PENALTY Eels - two good charges from Radradra and Edwards catch the Roosters offside.
6: Chris Sandow just bends a kick that collides with the post with the pack waiting for the scraps.. JWH and Maloney combine to put it out though. First dropout incoming..
8: TRY PARRAMATTA EELS
Scored by Ken Sio. Kick to come.
Sandow directs the attack down the short side involving Hayne and Sio for the winger to cross virtually untouched.
8: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION PARRAMATTA EELS
Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow unsuccessful.
Sandow tries to hook the conversion over but it goes wide left.
11: Roosters try to involve Daniel Tupou once again but he's run off the ball.. giving Sio a clean grab, in-field though as he is taken back in-goal. Dropout.
12: The sweeping backline movement that served the Roosters well in 2013 was a failure here. Radradra jammed in and forced the ball forward.
16: PENALTY Roosters - lifting tackle.
17: TRY SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Scored by Sam Moa. Kick to come.
I think it'll be the night for these kind of tries. Sam Moa from the inside ball just got those legs pumping and didn't stop until he was over the try-line.
19: James Maloney with a pinpoint grubber to earn a dropout.
21: Sonny Bill is into the gap and eying the try but Hayne with a desperate strip to save the day. Roosters scrum after the referee overruled his own call.
21: UNFORCED ERROR SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Boyd Cordner makes an unforced error.
Roosters going to the well once too often.. Cordner spilling the face ball.
24: Loving grass cutting tackle on the high stepping Tupou brought him down and allowed Sandow to drag him over the sideline.
24: PENALTY Eels - Sonny Bill pinged for a strip.
25: VIDEO REFEREE: Ken Sio is claiming his second, checking grounding.
27: TRY PARRAMATTA EELS
Scored by Ken Sio. Kick to come.
GREEN LIGHTS..TRY! A carbon copy of the first try just from the boot this time. Sandow saw the defense had jammed up and chipped for Sio who slid in for his second try.
28: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION PARRAMATTA EELS
Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow successful.
Another conversion from wide for Sandow.. and it goes through with an assist to the upright.
34: PENALTY Eels - Semi Radradra with a good catch going to ground. He is dragged back by the Rooster defenders illegally.
37: TRY SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Scored by Daniel Tupou. Kick to come.
Wow.. what a run from Tupou. He spied the hole 70 metres out.. beat Sandow and Hayne before using those long strides to beat Peats to the try-line.
38: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Conversion attempt by James Maloney successful.
Maloney puts the Roosters ahead again with his conversion.
39: UNFORCED ERROR SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Michael Jennings makes an unforced error.
An inside ball from Maloney to Jennings goes awry. Roosters are starting to get into the groove now.
39: PENALTY Eels - strip. Eels have a final chance for points here.
40: That was a strange end to what has been an engaging half, as the Eels started going backwards before Peats finished with the football.
40: We're back for the second half of a tough contest. Sydney take residence on the halfway line while Parramatta do the same in the southern portion of the ground, ready to receive the kick-off.
41: KICK-OFF! MoiMoi with the first run!
44: PENALTY Eels - Michael Jennings offside from the Maloney kick that was going to trap Hayne.
45: VIDEO REFEREE: Semi Radradra with a powerful effort. We are just checking the grounding.
46: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION PARRAMATTA EELS
Conversion attempt by Chris Sandow unsuccessful.
Three tough conversions for Sandow thus far.. can he make it 2/3.. no he can't.
48: PENALTY Eels - Hayne taken out. A chip kick from Sandow caught the Roosters out and Hayne was taken out by Maloney.
49: VIDEO REFEREE: Mitchell Allgood is over, claiming one. Referee saying no try.
49: RED LIGHTS..NO TRY! There was quite the deliberation but they couldn't tell conclusively if Allgood got it down.
49: VIDEO REFEREE: Radradra looking for his tenth of the season.
49: RED LIGHTS..AGAIN! Semi tried to bulldoze his way over but he was held up.
50: UNFORCED ERROR SYDNEY ROOSTERS
James Maloney makes an unforced error.
Forward pass from Maloney to Cordner.. Roosters a bit hard done by there.
51: PENALTY Eels - Roosters undisciplined here, conceding a PENALTY on the final tackle.
52: Roosters defense holds on and they work it out.
55: Two PENALTIES in a row for the Roosters has them attacking the line but the final pass goes over the sideline from Maloney.
60: PENALTY Roosters - strip from Peats.
62: UNFORCED ERROR PARRAMATTA EELS
Peni Terepo makes an unforced error.
More chips than a house party from Sandow tonight.. He found Hayne with this one who tries to position Terepo for the try but he spills it.
65: Some light footwork again from Tupou getting around his man but he touched the sideline ever so slightly..
70: VIDEO REFEREE: Jake Friend might have one but he doesn't look certain..
70: RED LIGHTS..NO TRY! So close.. Radradra had an air-swing so Friend had the chance but knocked it on.
74: UNFORCED ERROR SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Shaun Kenny-Dowall makes an unforced error.
Roosters get some space on last with a flat ball but have no more room.. Maloney puts it up but it's dropped by SKD.
78: VIDEO REFEREE: SBW might have scored.. referee has no try..
78: RED LIGHTS..NO TRY! Sonny Bill was HELD UP!
78: That is weird.. last tackle and they just go with a forward! What the!
78: PENALTY Eels - The crowd stands as one!
79: Sandow kicks it dead. Roosters have 32 seconds to win this..
80: Semi Radradra with a great tackle to deny Tupou. Next tackle the Roosters go to the left and grubber through.. Hayne takes it though. FULL-TIME.