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The Parramatta Eels have tonight run out emphatic victors, hammering a hapless Cronulla Sharks 40-6 in front of 10,628 fans at Parramatta Stadium, with halfback Jeff Robson the star.
Both sides came into the encounter in desperate need of kick-starting their stuttering campaigns. The Sharks were looking to build on their 18-4 victory over the Roosters last week, while the Eels were keen to erase the last 20 minutes of their match with the Cowboys where they blew a 14 point lead.
The first ten minutes of the match was spent with both sides feeling each other out with errors kept to a minimum. However, the Eels would finally begin to get a toehold in the game and lock forward Ben Smith opened the scoring in the 13th minute after halfback Jeff Robson drifted across-field before delivering a perfect short pass to the rampaging forward who crashed over alongside the posts. From that point forward, it appeared to be a blue-and-gold tidal wave of possession, with the Eels keeping their errors to a minimum. In the 27th minute, after doing a mountain of tackling, the Sharks defence was bound to crack. Standing at second-receiver, Blues' discard Jarryd Hayne fired a perfect cut-out ball to winger Jordan Atkins who escaped the clutches of his opposite winger to score in the corner. As the Sharks continued to tire towards halftime, the Eels piled on two more tries, both from kicks. The first came in the 32nd minute on tackle three when Casey McGuire's deft chipkick found a flying Luke Burt on the chest, with the winger scoring unopposed. In the shadows of halftime, the Eels were at it again, this time Chris Walker would find his name on the scoresheet. Kicking early, Robson weighted a perfect grubber into the in-goal; the ball sitting up and Walker winning the race to score alongside the posts. The Eels would go into the halftime break with a commanding 22-0 lead.
With the words of coach Stephen Kearney ringing in their ears of