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Parramatta keeps finals hopes alive
New Zealand Warriors 12 v Parramatta Eels 20
at Ericsson Stadium
Referees: Sean Hampstead
The Parramatta Eels have recorded their seventh victory of the season, and their fourth in a row, defeating a spirited New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium by 20-12.
Before a ball was even kicked in anger the Warriors found themselves without gun fullback Brent Webb, who broke down in the warm-up. Cooper Vuna was called onto the wing with Patrick Ah Van switching to the back and handling himself nicely.
The game began in bizarre fashion with boom Eels rookie Jarryd Hayne picking up two opportunistic tries early in the match through errors by the Warriors. As Manu Vatuvei was bringing the ball out from his line in the 3rd minute the ball shot out and was pounced upon by Hayne who dashed 30m to score the first try.
Amazingly, almost the exact same thing occurred seven minutes later only this time it was Simon Mannering who appeared to be shaping to pass only to see the slippery ball come loose and again fly into the waiting arms of young Hayne.
Five minutes later Parramatta workhorse Nathan Hindmarsh cleverly found his way to the line, bumping a few players out of his path to put the Eels 14-0 ahead and into a commanding position.
The Warriors did regroup however, scoring a vital try to Steve Price who crashed over close to the line in typical fashion, following a neat flat pass by Nathan Fien. But Parra dealt the home side a killer blow in the final minute of the half with Dean Widders setting up Luke O?Dwyer for the corner and the score of 18-6 going into the sheds did appear too much for the Warriors.
They came out fighting in the second half though and were the better side for much of the rest of the contest. Rovelli scored in the 53rd minute to get the comeback rolling after Mannering was able to offload despite heavy attention, putting the home team only six behind at 18-12. The Warriors continued their assault at the Eels line but they held firm, repelling several waves of attack some through stout defence and others following some poor handling by the New Zealand team.
It did seem that Parramatta continually allowed the Warriors to stay in the game, with turnovers and missed opportunities. Once such example came about in the 67th minute when Mark Riddell had a chance to secure an 8-point lead with a penalty goal only to hit the upright, capping a forgettable night for the portly hooker. Later he pinched a shot at field goal from halfback Jeremy Smith from dummy half, which again missed, only to seal the game in the 80th minute with a successful attempt at penalty.
The Warriors are gone for 2006 but not through lack of trying. At least the crowd turned up tonight with 14,499 filling the stadium which has reverted back to its? original name. They get to stay in bed next week, enjoying the bye before completing their final six games of the year.
Parra will play the Tigers at Homebush in what should be another thrilling contest between two sides fighting to secure a finals berth.
New Zealand Warriors: 12
Tries: Grant Rovelli, Steve Price
Goals: Tony Martin 2/2
Parramatta Eels: 20
Tries: Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke O'Dwyer, Jarryd Hayne(2)
Goals: Mark Riddell 1/4, Jarryd Hayne 1/2
Halftime: Eels 18-6
By the Clock:
Welcome to Mt Smart here in Auckland where it is the Warriors and the Eels.The Warriors have a couple of positional changes with Sione Faumuina coming from the bench to the 2nd row swapping with Awen Guttenbeil while Michael Luck comes in to the run on side with Wairangi Koopu dropping back to the bench.For the Eels there is just one change with Ben Smith dropping back to the bench with Daniel Wagon moving from the bench to the centres.
The Warriors are coming off their heart breaking golden point loss to the Bulldogs last week while the Eels ended Joey Johns' party with a 46-12 victory at Parramatta Stadium.
These two sides met at Waikato Stadium in round 2 with the Eels taking the points 22-14.
Some breaking news here with Brent Webb injuring a groin in the warmup with Cooper Vuna rushed in to the fullback role for just his 3rd NRL cap.
1 min: Hampstead blows time on!
2 min: A good opening set for the Warriors as Rovelli finds touch just a couple of minutes from the Eels goal line.
3 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
Jarryd Hayne keeps his try scoring tally ticking as he latches onto a drop ball from Manu Vatuvei and runs away to score the opening try.
Riddell from out wide amongst some jeers can't convert the try.
5 min: Nathan Fien down injured as he tries to tackle Fui Fui Moi Moi.
8 min: The Warriors are on the attack but a hospital pass by Grant Rovelli is knocked on and the Eels are off the hook.
10 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
This time a drop ball by Simon Mannering inside the Eels half and no,it's Jarryd Hayne again to run away 60 metres to score the Eels' second!!!
Riddell from outwide again misses.
13 min: The Warriors on the attack now thanks to a penalty from a John Morris high shot.
13 min: Vatuvei dives for the corner but as he is going out knocks the ball on.
15 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
Some gaps emerge through the Warriors' defence and Hindmarsh goes straight through and bumps off Vuna to score next to the posts.
Hayne steps up for the conversion and slots it.
27 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
A flat pass close to the line by Fien finds skipper Steve Price who crashes over next to the posts.
29 min: A cut out pass by Jeremy Smith finds Jarryd Hayne who streaks down field but touch judge Steve Lyons has called it forward.Further replays show that it is flat.
33 min: A neat kick from Grant Rovelli earns a repeat set of six.
39 min: TRY Parramatta Eels
A vital try just before the break for the Eels as centre Luke O'Dwyer slices through some poor defence to score in the corner.
Hayne from the sideline misses badly.
Halftime - The Warriors gifted the Eels with two simple tries to Jarryd Hayne thanks to some poor ball handling and as most coaches have said this year,ball control is a must for to win football matches.
Second half underway...
45 min: A drop ball dives the Warriors good field position.
46 min: A grubber through by Rovelli is fumbled in goal by McKinnon but he just gets to the ball in time to knock it dead before a Warriors hand can get there.
53 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
It's a Warriors special!Mannering gets on the outside of his man,gets a freakish offload away to a man on the inside who then pops a ball to halfback Grant Rovelli who runs away to score.
Martin converts and it's game on!
56 min: The Warriors on the attack again as Hindmarsh takes out Rovelli when puts a chip over the top.
57 min: The Eels are off the hook as former Cowboy Michael Luck drops the ball with a gap looming.Now the Eels cough up on tackle one 10 metres out!
59 min: Video ref for a Warriors try...
59 min: No Try - Mannering is held up ingoal.
61 min: Another chance for the Warriors as Riddell knocks on in the play the ball.
64 min: With no-one within a country mile,Manu Vatuvei tries to retrieve a long kick in his own in goal and knocks on.
67 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels
Riddell just had the chance to put the game out of reach here with a penally goal from the Warriors being offside but he hits the post from next to the uprights!
70 min: Crowd tonight 14,499
71 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Parramatta Eels
Riddell tries to put the Eels 7 ahead but misses.
75 min: Not long to go now,the Warriors' season on the line here.
76 min: Rovelli puts a chip over the top and is taken out however Hampstead rules that it was accidental.
77 min: A shocker from John Morris as he kicks out on the full inside his own half!
78 min: Surely it's all over now as Faumuina pops a pass he shouldn't have.
80 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels
Riddell puts the game beyond doubt from right in front 30 metres out with a penalty goal.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Nathan Hindmarsh
2 - Simon Mannering
1 - Jarryd Hayne