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Parramatta Eels halfback PJ Marsh made a successful comeback from a career threatening neck injury, but couldnt prevent the Eels from being surprisingly beaten by a Cronulla side missing most of its regular first-graders in a trial game at Lismore last night.
The Sharks were never headed in the game and led 18-6 midway through it, but Parramatta fought back strongly to make it 18-18 at three-quarter time. It took a late try for Cronulla to seal the six-point win.
Parramatta were missing star forwards Nathan Hindmarsh and Nathan Cayless as well as new buy Chad Robinson, who is bound to get plenty of game time in the pack this season, but the Sharks were significantly further down on full strength with halfback Brett Kimmorley, prop Jason Stevens, fullback David Peachey and utility Phil Bailey among those absent.
The Eels weren't overly concerned about the loss as it was only a trial, but the Sharks were delighted by the form of some of their fringe players.
After the match, Eels coach Brian smith described the performance as patchy and said: "There were some really good signs there but also heaps of stuf to work on. I thought Glenn Morrison was amongst our best and i was happy with how Tim Smith went when he came on."
Parramatta's 18 points came from tries to Mark Riddell, John Morris and Wade McKinnon, with goals to Mark Riddell (2) and Luke Burt.