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A near-capacity Parramatta Stadium crowd of 19654 tonight witnessed a comprehensive 22-6 victory by the Parramatta Eels over the Wests Tigers. The win keeps the Eels season alive for another week, while the Tigers third-straight loss could see them tumble as low as 11th at the completion of the round.
After being told at the start of the State of Origin series that he was a five-eighth, Parramatta's Jarryd Hayne had the perfect chance to put that belief to the test when regular halfback Jeff Robson was ruled out prior to kick-off. In a backline re-shuffle, Luke Burt moved to fullback, allowing Hayne to partner Casey McGuire in the halves. The first 10 minutes of the match was a Jarryd Hayne masterclass with the Eels superstar involved in everything. Hayne was busy on both sides of the field, delivering bullet cut-out passes to his wingers, before mixing it up with a blend of short-balls in the Tigers 20m zone. It came as no surprise in the 10th minute when Hayne set up what would be the first and only try of the first half. Taking the line on, he squeezed between two defenders, before flicking a pass out the back which was brilliantly picked up on the half-volley by winger Jordan Atkins. Atkins looked up and saw nothing but green pastures in front of him and after Burt's successful conversion from out wide, the Eels had a well-deserved 6-0 lead.
From that point on, the match would slightly degenerate, with Hayne becoming a little quieter in possession and the Tigers slowly grinding their way back into the contest. The visitor's best chance of registering points came in the 20th minute when Benji Marshall, returning after a few weeks out with to a knee injury, banana-kicked back towards the Eels posts. Fullback Wade McKinnon led the chase, but the ball bounced off the upright and into the arms of none other than Eels workhorse Nathan Hindmarsh who, as usual, was leading the Eels chase. The Tigers fired a few more warning shots before the halftime break, but their last-pass execution let them down and the Eels went to halftime hanging onto their early 6-0 lead.
The turning point in the encounter came in the 45th minute with the Eels still holding that six-point lead. The home side pressured the Tigers defence, before a loose pass found Chris Heighington who sent Benji Marshall on a 95m sprint to the tryline. Unfortunately for the visitors, Eels centre Ben Smith chased down the five-eighth, bundling him into touch. The Eels extended their lead in the 52nd minute through a Luke Burt penalty goal, before Reni Maitua looked to put the result beyond doubt just two minutes later. Again Burt was in the thick of the action, stealing the ball off Tigers fullback McKinnon in a one-on-one steal, before Maitua picked up the ball from dummy half and dived over, taking advantage of some very ordinary Tigers goal-line defence.
Burt turned provider in the 61st minute when he kicked for centre Ryan Morgan on just the first tackle. Morgan led the chase to the ball, receiving a perfect bounce and diving over in the corner. Again Burt added the extras from the sideline and the Parramatta faithful were in celebration mode. The Tigers only try of the match was provided by halfback Robert Lui who sliced through the Eels left-side defence, sprinting 50m to score alongside the posts. Burt wrapped up the scoring as the fulltime siren sounded, after Casey McGuire was hit late by Andrew Fifita, giving the Eels a comfortable 22-6 victory.
Next week, the Eels travel to the foot of the Blue Mountains on Saturday night for a clash with the Panthers, while the Tigers will look to avenge tonight's loss when they travel to Townsville, also on Saturday night.
Parramatta Eels 22 defeated Wests Tigers 6
National Rugby League - Round 18 - Friday July 8, 2011 7:30pm
Venue: Parramatta Stadium
Referee: Ben Cummins and Phil Haines
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: David Abood and Gavin Morris
Halftime: Parramatta Eels 6 Wests Tigers 0
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Luke Burt (3 Conversions, 2 Penalty Goals)
2 Points - Jarryd Hayne
1 Point - Nathan Hindmarsh
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary It's Friday night footy - the Eels hosting the Tigers! Discuss the match on our forums, or follow us on Twitter, @LeagueUnlimited and be sure to add the hashtag #nrlparwst!
And a very good evening and welcome to tonight's Round 18 encounter between the Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers. The match shapes as a crucial juncture in both team's season's; a loss for Parramatta would just about spell the end of their season as they sit just one point ahead of last place, while the Tigers can ill afford a loss as they look to keep pace with the top eight. We are just awaiting confirmation of both teams, but rumours are rife that Benji Marshall will replace Jacob Miller at five-eighth.
Confirmation of both team lists has just found its way through to us. For the Eels, Jeff Robson is out, and in a minor reshuffle in the backline, Etu Uaisele will come onto the wing, with Luke Burt named to partner Casey McGuire in the halves. Patrick O'Hanlan replaces Manase Manuokafoa on the interchange bench. For the Tigers, they welcome back superstar Benji Marshall at five-eighth in place of Jacob Miller who played Toyota Cup earlier this evening.
In the Toyota Cup curtain raiser, the Tigers have registered first blood over the Eels, with a 24-4 victory.
1 min: And we're underway here tonight in this Round 18 encounter.
2 min: Hayne dribbles a grubber in behind the Tigers defence and McKinnon is forced to kick the ball dead. Tigers dropout.
3 min: Horo passes the ball back on the inside into the arms of Lasalo as he went over the sideline, but the pass is ruled forward and the Tigers will feed a scrum.
5 min: PENALTY Tigers. Horo too quick off the mark and is offside.
6 min: Lui chips to the corner, but Burt reads the kick well and takes it on the full.
7 min: Lawrence flicks the pass to winger Brown, but he can't handle the ball and the Eels go on the attack.
8 min: The Eels spin the ball to their left hand side and Atkins puts a kick in which rebounds off Lawrence into his arms, but is then bundled into touch by three Eels defenders. Eels scrum.
10 min: TRY
TRY Parramatta Eels
Scored by Jordan Atkins. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful.
The Eels open the scoring here tonight! As the Eels spun the ball to their left hand side again, Hayne takes the defence on, before flicking a pass out the back into the arms of Atkins who looked up and saw a massive hole in the Tigers defence, scoring 15m in from the western sideline. Burt adds the extras from out wide.
Parramatta Eels 6-0
12 min: The Eels take the ball 100m after scoring points and Lasalo kicks into the in-goal, before McKinnon is picked up and tackled in-goal. Tigers dropout.
13 min: PENALTY Tigers. McGuire attempts to get a quick play-the-ball in for the Eels, but is not facing goal-line to goal-line and is rightly penalised.
15 min: Marshall's short pass is dropped by Murdoch-Masila. Eels back in possession.
16 min: PENALTY Tigers. Atkins is ruled to have taken Ryan out as he attempted to contest the ball.
17 min: PENALTY Eels. Marshall is penalised for working Burt over in the play-the-ball.
18 min: Hayne's kick into the Tigers in-goal trickles over the dead-ball line.
18 min: PENALTY Tigers. Eels do not retreat the full 10m.
20 min: Marshall's banana kick back towards the posts looked certain to be going into the arms of McKinnon, but the ball bounces into the post and back into the arms of Hindmarsh.
22 min: Hayne launches a towering bomb which is taken well by Ryan.
23 min: Farah's pass on tackle five is knocked on by Marshall. Eels on the attack.
24 min: Hayne's short pass to Lasalo is put down by the second-rower. Tigers scrum.
25 min: PENALTY Tigers. Hayne is told several times to get onside at the scrum base, but does not take any notice of the referee and is subsequently penalised.
26 min: Heighington puts the ball down in yet another error by the Tigers.
27 min: Lasalo now tries to flick a pass out the back and the Tigers dive on the loose ball.
28 min: McKinnon is cut down in a brilliant try-saver by Burt.
28 min: The Eels throw the ball around and Hayne's pass is intercepted by Ryan for the Tigers.
29 min: Run around by the Tigers and Farah's grubber is taken well by Burt just in the field of play.
33 min: Marshall's kick finds the line, although the kick appears to be a slightly bizarre one.
35 min: Galloway's flick pass to McKinnon is ruled forward, although replays suggest the pass was not even close to being forward.
37 min: Lui splits the Eels defence down the left side, before losing the ball in a one-on-one steal.
39 min: Farah pokes his nose through the Eels defence before lofting a pass to their left side, but Brown overran the pass and the ball goes into touch.
40 min: The Eels lose the ball through Maitua and the Tigers run to pack the scrum with 47 seconds left in the half.
40 min: The Tigers throw the ball around in the last 60 seconds of the half, but Lui puts the ball down as the siren sounds in the background.
41 min: The second 40 minutes is underway here at Parramatta Stadium.
42 min: Marshall sends Lawrence away down the left side, but a great tackle by Horo pulls him down.
43 min: Hayne takes the Tigers defence on before flicking a pass back to Hindmarsh who toes the ball forward, before coming up with the tackle on McKinnon.
44 min: The Tigers force the pass again and the Eels go back on the attack.
45 min: The Eels look certain to score, but the pass finds Heighington, who sends Marshall away, before Marshall is chased down by Ben Smith and thrown into touch 3m out from the Eels line in an absolutely brilliant trysaver!
48 min: PENALTY Eels. Tigers lying around too long in the tackle.
50 min: Hayne grubbers into the in-goal, but Lui dives back into the field of play.
50 min: The Tigers are away down the left hand side again, but Lawrence's pass is put down by Brown who would have had a 50m sprint to the tryline.
50 min: PENALTY Eels. Galloway hand on the ball.
51 min: PENALTY Eels. Smith's messy play-the-ball gains the Eels a penalty after Galloway's leg is tangled up.
52 min: PENALTY GOAL
PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels
Penalty goal attempt by Luke Burt successful.
Burt extends the Eels lead out past a converted try.
Parramatta Eels 8-0
54 min: McKinnon has the ball stolen one-on-one and the Eels go on the attack.
54 min: TRY
TRY Parramatta Eels
Scored by Reni Maitua. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful.
Maitua extends the Eels lead even further when he takes advantage of some very soft Tigers defence, picking the ball up from dummy half and diving over.
Parramatta Eels 14-0
56 min: Hayne grubbers towards the in-goal, but Brown scoops up the ball in the corner.
57 min: Marshall's pass finds the ground and the blue-and-yellow wave surges upfield.
61 min: TRY
TRY Parramatta Eels
Scored by Ryan Morgan. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful.
The Eels are in celebration mode here at Parramatta Stadium! It's party time as Burt kicks on the first tackle after a Tigers turnover. The Tigers defence was in disarray and Burt could see open spaces as he kicked for the centre who received a perfect bounce, before diving over in the corner. Burt adds the extras from the sideline.
Parramatta Eels 20-0
63 min: TRY
TRY Wests Tigers
Scored by Robert Lui. Conversion attempt by Benji Marshall successful.
Lui finally gets the Tigers on the board with a scintillating run down the right side, despite some average Parramatta defence.
Parramatta Eels 20-6
66 min: The Tigers look to shift the ball to their left side, but Lawrence's pass goes into touch.
67 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Eels try.
67 min: Atkins is ruled to have been held up.
68 min: The Eels kick to the corner and Morgan is hit in a good tackle by Lawrence. Tigers play-the-ball.
70 min: Marshall takes the Eels defence on, before tripping over and throwing a speculative pass which goes into touch. Eels scrum.
72 min: Marshall's pass to Ellis is forward, much to the delight of the Eels faithful.
74 min: Burt's kick from dummy half rolls over the deadball line.
74 min: The Tigers look to kick for touch from the 20m restart, but Burt is aware of the situation and prevents the ball going into touch.
75 min: Jarryd Hayne is given an early mark by coach Stephen Kearney.
76 min: The Tigers throw the ball around and Ayshford's flick pass is knocked down by Horo. Tigers scrum.
77 min: PENALTY Eels. Marshall runs around the back of winger Mitch Brown and is penalised.
78 min: The Tigers come up with yet another error as they throw the ball around trying to play catch-up.
80 min: McGuire is hit in a solid tackle off the ball by Andrew Fifita, which is subsequently penalised.
80 min: PENALTY GOAL
PENALTY GOAL Parramatta Eels
Penalty goal attempt by Luke Burt successful.
Burt adds an extra two points to the Eels score to wrap up the scoring here tonight.
Parramatta Eels 22-6