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Pirtek Parramatta Eels benefit from first 2011 hit-out
The Pirtek Parramatta have played their first game of 2011 under new coach Stephen Kearney, with the young side going down to a strong Warriors team 24-4 at Rotorua International Stadium.
The Eels were disciplined early but first points went to the Warriors in the 10th minute. The Warriors, who opened their trial season last weekend against the Knights, benefited from good field position after a wayward kick from the Eels went out on the full.
As the Warriors attacked Parramatta's right-side defence they were caught short and �the Beast' Manu Vatuvei crashed his way through the defenders to score in the corner for a 4-0 lead.
In the first 20 minutes Parramatta looked promising, especially down the left-side with the combination of Chris Walker and rookie Jacob Loko, combining to get close to the line until the Warriors were able to intercept an offload.
Ex-Eels winger Krisnan Inu struck the next blow against his former club, plucking a bomb from the air to extend the lead to 8-0. However he again failed to convert.
At the half-hour mark the Eels found their way across the line on the back of a Jeff Robson line break. Robson stepped the tiring Warriors defenders before he was eventually caught 20 metres out. On the next play Taniela Lasalo worked his way through the Warriors' line to score and reduce the deficit to four.
Just before the break the Eels chanced a chip-kick, regathered and offloaded between players. The ball was kicked again and it was a race to the tryline, but the Warriors were able to get there first and ran the ball out to end the half at 8-4.
Parramatta were close to tying up the match just a minute into the second half when Justin Horo broke through the line but he was brought down just centimetres away from the tryline. On the next play lock Billy Rogers dropped the ball across the line.
The Warriors were quick to respond through winger Glen Fisiiahi who broke the line and managed to evade all chasing defenders to score. Inu converted for a 14-4 lead.
Justin Horo punched a gap through the Warriors again to put the Eels in scoring position, however Parramatta just lacked a finishing touch to get across the tryline.
It was Fisiiahi who stretched the lead to 20-4 when some offloading and strong running from the Warriors broke the Eels' defensive line at the 60-minute mark.
Warrior Lewis Brown scored just before the end of the match to put the final score at 24-4.
Captain Luke Burt was proud of his young side, which featured many of the Eels' new recruits, and believes the game was an important hit-out.
"It was good finally get out there after a long, hard pre-season, it was excellent to have a hit out like that. Unfortunately we didn't get result but there were good signs," Burt says.
"Our defence in the first half was very strong and a lot of the young fellas played very well. The boys in the middle performed at a high level for their first game of the year.
"I think we have a little fine tuning to do with our attack but overall we can take a lot out of it."
PARRAMATTA EELS 4 (Taniela Lasalo try) WARRIORS 24 (Glen Fisiiahi 2, Manu Vatuvei, Krisnan Inu, Lewis Brown tries; Krisnan Inu 2 goals) at Rotorua International Stadium. Crowd: 8,600.