The Parramatta Eels have continued a weekend of weird games with a 20-14 victory over the North Queensland Cowboys in front of 8,000 Darwinians.
The first half in Darwin was a low scoring affair but it was anything but a dour affair with plenty of end to end action for both sides.
The Eels dominated the opening minutes setting up camp in the Cowboys half after the Cowboys couldn't complete a set coming out of trouble and then when they did get out of their own territory they gave a away a penalty to let the Eels back into their half. The Eels were able to force three consecutive repeat sets and on the fourth a smart piece of play from Jarryd Hayne was the spark for first points. The Cowboys conceded a penalty and Jarryd Hayne saw an opportunity for a quicktap which he took and ran at a gap and got down low for the opening four pointer.
The Cowboys thought they got the next set of points when Kyle Feldt was able to get on the outside of Bevan French to dive over in the corner after a lovely looking pass from Te Maire Martin only to have it called back for a forward pass despite replays showing the pass looked ok. The Cowboys then did get the next set of points through Kyle Feldt although ironically the common thought initially was that it was a No Try including referee Peter Gough. The replays showed Feldt had dropped the ball and the live decision was correct howeverSteve Chiddy in the bunker was happy with the grounding and it was awarded as a try.
The first try of the second half for the Eels came after just 80 seconds when Lachlan Coote put a high kick down and somewhat surprisingly it was David Gower who was there to clean it up however it was the next play that saw Clint Gutherson set up George Jennings with a lovely long pass to put Jennings over in the corner. The surprising decisions from the bunker continued when Jarryd Hayne chased through to take a great kick and get over the line to score although replays in the bunker referral looked as if Hayne had dropped the ball but the try was awarded anyway.
The Cowboys then looked to hit back soon after however yet again a good looking pass was called back as forward from Thurston to Coote with replays again showing that the Cowboys were highly unlucky with it looking like the pass was perfectly fine. The disappointment of the disallowed try was compounded for the Cowboys when Michael Jennings extended the lead when his ex-Panthers teammate Lachlan Coote again put a high ball down with Jennings picking it up and scoring next to the posts.
As the Cowboys tried to get back into the contest the errors were mounting although with two minutes to go the Cowboys finally got some luck with yet another contentious call from the bunker. The Cowboys thought they had a try through Matt Scott when he barged over although referee Peter Gough ruled No Try again the bunker ruled that there was sufficient evidence to overturn the live call when Steve Chiddy ruled the ball touched the line despite replays showing it didn't.
The Eels next week have a clash with the Rabbitohs on Thursday night at ANZ Stadium whilst the Cowboys will host the Warriors on Friday night in the 6pm game.