Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Despite clawing their way back to within eight points shortly after half time, the Roosters were unable to stop the impressive Eels juggernaut from completing a convincing blitz of the 2004 premiers.
It didn't take long for the second place Eels to post first points, when a deft offload from five-eighth Blake Green sent giant back-rower Thomas Macgougan on a 20 metre dash to the line. Green converted the try to give Parramatta a 6-0 lead in the 4th minute.
The home side hit back immediately with a scintillating try to speedster Troy Savage. When centre Jeremy Gordon exploited a one-man overlap on the right touchline to send Savage away, the lightning-fast youngster showed tremendous balance and agility to tiptoe down the sideline and beat three Eels defenders to score a stunning four-pointer. Shaun Foley converted to level the scores at 6-all.
But in a frenetic opening to the round 16 clash, Parramatta hit back in the 10th minute when hooker Scott Jones scored under the posts to restore the Eels' six-point buffer.
As both teams settled into the match after a frantic start, the Roosters were forced to hold out a string of back-to-back Eels raids, but on their fourth consecutive set of six, Parramatta fullback Jarryd Hayne finally broke the home side's resilience with a try out wide. Green's conversion gave the visitors an 18-6 lead in the 25th minute.
Needing to score next, an inspired grubber from Roosters half Anthony Watts put the home side back into the contest six minutes before the break.
Minutes after recovering from a spectacular mid-air collision with Eels custodian Hayne, the pint-sized number seven cleverly worked a cross-field kick in for NSW Under 17's star Shaun Kenny-Dowall to pounce out wide. Foley was unable to convert, reducing the deficit to 18-10.
But a knock on from the ensuing kick off by Gordon paved the way for nuggety hooker Jones to bag his second four-pointer, which gave the Eels a commanding 24-10 at the break following Green's fourth successive goal.
After Parramatta kicked out on the full from the second half kick-off, inspirational half Watts got the Roosters back into contention with a tough try in the 37th minute to reduce the deficit to 24-16.
But Parramatta restored their advantage in the 44th minute when David Williams crossed out wide. Green's conversion stretched the score to 30-16.
As the young Roosters began to tire, Parramatta upped the ante through lock Kurt Sorensen, who extended the Eels' advantage to 36-16 with a classy try.
The Eels stretched the lead in the 55th minute when Green capped off a strong game by scoring and converting his own try after Watts failed to clean up a grubber kick.
But displaying his fighting spirit, Watts picked himself off the canvas to bust the Eels defence and send Gordon over with a perfectly timed offload. Foley converted to reduce the margin to 42-22.
The resilience was short lived however, when Eels centre Williams bagged his second with a scintillating try. Green's eighth-straight conversion stretched the score to 48-22.
Roosters coach Jim Dymock said the side had some hard work to do over the coming weeks to get back on track, after series of strong mid-season wins had been brought undone with two losses in-a-row.
"We've let our defence slip away a bit," Dymock said.
"We need to get stuck in at training, because as we've seen over the past few weeks there are some good sides in this comp.
"But there are a lot of talented kids in this bunch - I'm confident we'll bounce back."
PARRAMATTA EELS 48 (Thomas Macgougan, Scott Jones 2, Jarryd Hayne, David Williams 2, Kurt Sorensen, Blake Green tries; Blake Green 8/8 goals) defeated SYDNEY ROOSTERS 22 (Troy Savage, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Anthony Watts, Jeremy Gordon tries; Shaun Foley 3/4 goals) at Aussie Stadium, Friday 24th June 2005; Referee: Adam Devcich.