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The Parramatta Eels have continued a fairytale run to become the first team into the 2009 Grand Final with a memorable 22-12 victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs in front of a massive crowd of 74,549.
The four-try-to-two victory enables them to become the first ever team to make the big one from eighth position. This ends the career of the popular Bulldog Hazem El Masri.
The match started with a high intensity with Eel Fui Fui Moi Moi wrecking the Bulldogs defence. However the Bulldogs were the first to hit the board, a good series of passing ended up with Bryson Goodwin going over to score. It ended up being a possible eight point try with the referee putting Eels superstar Jarryd Hayne on report with a knock on Goodwin with the knees.
The two teams kept coming at each other before Parramatta finally found themselves on the board mid-way through the first half, Hayne going through amounts of Canterbury defence to send Joe Galuvao over for a rare try.
With the Eels on top they kept looking like they would score again before the break, instead Josh Morris somehow beat Jarryd Hayne to a loose ball in-goal to put his Bulldogs in front 12-6 at the break.
In the second half the Eels started well, again with a good series of passing it ended up with Luke Burt scoring his 100th career try. This pushed the score back to 12-10.
Minutes later Tim Mannah went over for his first career try following some good passing up the middle. Josh Morris almost scored a freakish second but just missed to set up an exciting final ten minutes.
In the 71st Eels forward Fui Fui Moi Moi made a break, sending the ball to Luke Burt to make some good ground, in the end the ball ended up with young Daniel Mortimer who scored the winning try to push the Bulldogs out of the finals series.
Mortimer, the son of Bulldogs legend Peter was up alongside the blue and gold army in the crowd. Nothing Canterbury could do would bring them back into the match.
The Eels have got their concerns for next week however. Nathan Cayless is most likely going to miss the match with a hamstring injury, whilst Matt Keating and Jarryd Hayne are both on report.
Match Details Parramatta Eels 22 def Canterbury Bulldogs 12 Preliminary Finals - Friday September 25th, 2009 07:45pm Venue: ANZ Stadium, Homebush Referee: Tony Archer & Ben Cummins Sideline Officials: Paul Holland & David Abood Video Referee: Bill Harrigan Crowd: 74549 Halftime: Canterbury Bulldogs 12 Parramatta Eels 6
Canterbury Bulldogs 12
Tries: Bryson Goodwin, Josh Morris
Field Goals: Brett Kimmorley (0/1)
Goals: Hazem El Masri (2/3)
Parramatta Eels 22
Tries: Joe Galuvao, Luke Burt, Tim Mannah, Daniel Mortimer
Goals: Luke Burt (3/4)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Luke Burt (Eels) 2 Points: Krisnan Inu (Eels) 1 Point: Brett Kimmorley (Bulldogs)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary It's the biggest game in Sydney in years! Will the Dogs power on to the Grand Final? Can anyone stop the "Hayne Train"? Want to add your thoughts? Head over to The Front Row Forums - click here to discuss the Bulldogs v Eels preliminary final showdown!
BULLDOGS: 1. Luke Patten 2. Hazem El Masri 3. Josh Morris 4. Jamal Idris 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. Ben Roberts 7. Brett Kimmorley 8. Ben Hannant 9. Michael Ennis 10. Michael Hodgson 17. Gary Warburton 12. Andrew Ryan [C] 13. David Stagg Interchange: 11. Greg Eastwood 14. Jarrad Hickey 15. Chris Armit 16. Yileen Gordon EELS: 1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Luke Burt 3. Krisnan Inu 4. Joel Reddy 5. Eric Grothe 6. Daniel Mortimer 7. Jeff Robson 8. Nathan Cayless [C] 9. Matthew Keating 10. Fuifui Moimoi 11. Nathan Hindmarsh 12. Ben Smith 13. Todd Lowrie Interchange: 14. Kevin Kingston 15. Feleti Mateo 17. Tim Mannah 19. Joe Galuvao
Late Change Eastwood moves onto the Bulldogs bench with Warburton starting.
Toyota Cup Preliminary Final The Wests Tigers will make their first Grand Final appearance in the Toyota Cup after a powerful 36-12 victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons.
First Grade Preliminary Final Have you ever seen a more anticipated match in your life???
Welcome to ANZ Stadium for what will be an amazing match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Parramatta Eels. Keep in touch for what will be a memorable eighty minutes as these two sides play for a spot in the 2009 NRL Grand Final.
We're not far from getting underway tonight.
We're underway! Let's get it going!
2 min: Patten is down, accidentally hit in the head by Nathan Cayless' knee.
2 min: Patten is off the field, a shame to see. Gordon replaces him.
3 min: Moi Moi taking hit after hit already, Ben Smith makes an error in the play-the-ball giving Canterbury a good chance thirty out.
4 min: POSSIBLE BULLDOGS TRY Bryson Goodwin may have scored in the corner after a great series of passing.
4 min: EIGHT POINT TRY Canterbury Bulldogs Possible eight point try with Jarryd Hayne putting the knees in, and Goodwin is in for the first points. Goodwin looks gone as well. Conversion attempt by Hazem unsuccessful, but the second attempt was successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 6-0
8 min: Cayless off the field now with a hamstring problem.
8 min: PENALTY BULLDOGS Reddy penalised for stripping the ball from Roberts.
10 min: PENALTY EELS A second attempt to put Reddy into the in-goal.
13 min: Ryan spills the ball to give the Eels a shot.
16 min: Burt makes a good break, the tackle causing a bit of push and shove.
17 min: Reddy shoved over the sideline, throwing it in. The ref says Ben Roberts somehow played at it, so here comes another set of six.
18 min: But Moi Moi spills it on the first.
19 min: PENALTY BULLDOGS Bulldogs going for another shot, 30 metres out.
21 min: Hayne makes a monster kick! 35 from his own line the ball bounces metres out from the line for a massive 40/20. Next a mess goes on for another set of six.
22 min: Robson tries to grubber to Hayne but El Masri gets into the way, great work.
23 min: PENALTY EELSHindmarsh dummies to Moi Moi but Moi Moi is whacked before he gets it.
24 min: POSSIBLE EELS TRY Hayne might have done it again, going through the entire defence to get it to Galuvao. They don't even get it to the video ref!
24 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Galuvao gets a rare one and Parramatta are on the board. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. 6 all
32 min: Line drop out, good tackle on Kimmorley, here come the Eels!
33 min: It doesn't work and that'll be the set, still at 6-all.
34 min: Gordon makes a massive break, stopped by Burt.
34 min: A Bulldogs grubber goes over the sideline, but Ben Smith hit it over so here comes another Dogs set.
35 min: POSSIBLE BULLDOGS TRY Morris might mave beaten Hayne to the ball after a grubber, something possibly impossible...
35 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs He has done it! Amazing work by Morris to put the Bulldogs in front! Conversion attempt by Hazem El Masri successful. Canterbury Bulldogs 12-6
38 min: PENALTY BULLDOGS Keating on report, Hindmarsh warned by the referee. So Keating adds to the list of Eels on report, with Hayne.
39 min: Reddy attempts the intercept but spills it.
40 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Canterbury Bulldogs Kimmorley attempts the one-pointer, goes to the right.
HALF TIME BULLDOGS 12 EELS 6 What a half of football, very few errors and very high intensity! I don't know how the second half will beat this.
We're back for the second half, many questions to finally be answered in the next forty minutes.
43 min: Hayne knocks on in a mess-up with Hindmarsh.
44 min: Idris came close, threw the ball which hit an Eel, so another six coming up close to the line.
47 min: Hayne kicks on the last but it goes too far over the sideline, Burt can't throw it back in.
48 min: Strange call, Hayne takes a grubber on the full and is pushed in goal. The ref says he caught in on the full for a 20 restart.
49 min: POSSIBLE EELS TRY Burt might have scored, looks good.
49 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Burt grabs his 100th try, Inu juggled (not touched by Idris who was close, that's what was being checked) and regathered to give Burt a simple try. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt unsuccessful. Canterbury Bulldogs 12-10
55 min: TRY Parramatta Eels A great bit of passing from the Eels put the Parramatta side in front for the first time. Tim Mannah scores his first career try, well done to him! Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 16-12
62 min: Goodwin knocks on and goes down injured. Parra with a major shot.
64 min: POSSIBLE EELS TRY Ok, I have absolutely no idea! Strange little grubbers, Kingston might have scored.
64 min: NO TRY EELS Inu knocks on it seems.
68 min: POSSIBLE BULLDOGS TRY Has Morris somehow managed his second? Freakish game from him tonight.
68 min: NO TRY BULLDOGS Didn't ground it. So it continues!
69 min: Hindmarsh makes an amazing trysaver against Ennis.
71 min: POSSIBLE EELS TRY Could this be it?
71 min: TRY Parramatta Eels MORTIMER! He could've sealed up the Bulldogs fate here tonight, from some great work by Moi Moi and Burt. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 22-12
79 min: Cayless will miss next week, but his team-mates won't. Parra look safe as they have another shot following a Patten knock-on.
It's over red rover! The Eels are in the Grand Final for the first time since 2001! What a game, the crowd are up!