The Parramatta Eels have opened the 2020 NRL Season with a hard-fought 8-2 victory over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Bankwest Stadium.
Scoring the only try of the night through Reed Mahoney in the 65th minute, the Eels put in a solid performance played before a home crowd of 21,363 supporters.
Dominating recent clashes against the blue and whites with six wins from their past eight meetings, the Eels dictated territory during the opening exchanges and looked to have crossed for the first try after three minutes, only for Blake Ferguson to put his foot on the touchline.
Giving the visitors first points via a penalty goal in the 12th minute, Bulldogs playmaker Brandon Wakeham missed an opportunity to extend the lead with a wayward penalty attempt four minutes later.
Opening their account in the 34th minute after new Bulldogs signing Dean Britt collected Mitchell Moses high, the Eels' number seven nailed a penalty from close range to send both sides to the change of ends level at 2-all.
Unable to gain any ascendancy after halftime with both sides struggling to hold onto possession, the Eels struck a crucial blow with 15 minutes to play courtesy of a well-weighted grubber from Moses to set up the match-winner.
With Lachlan Lewis unable to ground the ball in-goal, Mahoney showed the desperation needed to put the blue and golds up 8-2.
Despite the best efforts of the Bulldogs over the closing stages, the Eels managed to hold on and extend their strong record at Bankwest Stadium to 10 wins from 12 matches.
Coming into the match under a cloud of controversy after Jayden Okunbor and Corey Harawira-Naera were served with show cause notices by the NRL, the Bulldogs showed tremendous resilience to push the premiership favourites right to the death.
Next week, the Eels face the Titans at CBUS Super Stadium on Sunday evening, while the Bulldogs host the Cowboys at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night.