Parramatta have maintained their lead at the top of the NRL ladder with an absolute demolition job over the Cowboys at Bankwest Stadium tonight running out convincing winners by 42-4.
In his 100th game for the club, Eels skipper Clint Gutherson was superb for the home side, setting up three tries, kicking 6 goals and running for over 200 metres in a dominant display, which also saw Fijian winger Maiko Sivo score an incredible four tries in a night to remember at Bankwest Stadium.
The Cowboys simply had no much for the Eels firepower, as they were blown off the park in the second half, with the home side running in four unanswered tries in the second half in a performance sure to heap pressure on premiership winning coach Paul Green moving forward.
Despite coming into the game missing key playmaker Mitchell Moses through injury, Parramatta looked comfortable at home early on and it was in form skipper Gutherson who was pivotal for delivering the opening try. The Eels skipper took the ball close to the line and hit his outside man Micheal Jennings with a superb ball for the former NSW centre to score the first points of the evening. Gutherson then converted from out wide and the Eels lead 6-0 after just 11 minutes.
Gutherson was at it again for the Eels' second try, when he again threw the key pass, this time a 15m rocket to try scoring machine Maika Sivo who dived over to score his first try of the night. Gutherson's conversion attempt hit the post and Parramatta led 10-0.
Parramatta have thrived on the one, two punch so far this season and they quickly made it three first half tries, when five eighth Dylan Brown kicked high for Waqa Blake who leapt high to score and following Gutherson's conversion extended the Eels lead to 16-0.
North Queensland managed to claw their way back just before the break, when five-eighth Scott Drinkwater took on the line and found a steaming Tom Opacic who crashed over close to the line to give the away side some hope just before the stroke of halftime, reducing the Eels lead to 16-4 at the break.
After the break, the Eels got off to a dream start, when Brown again kicked high for his preferred target in Waqa Blake. Blake then batted the ball back into the hands of speedster Jai Field and the former Dragons showed his blistering speed to race over in the corner to score on debut for his new club. Gutherson then converted from the sideline and Parramatta extended their lead to 22-4 just minutes into the second half.
Gutherson was at it again for the Eels next try when he again threw an amazing cut out ball for Sivo to score his second try. The ‘King' then kicked the conversion and Parramatta were in a commanding position leading 28-4.
It was de-ja-vu for the Cowboys right edge defence when Sivo crashed over for his hat-trick, when Dylan Brown nailed a superb long pass onto the chest of the Fijian flyer to touch down. Gutherson again converted from out wide and Parramatta extended their lead to 34-4.
The blockbusting winger then made it four tries, when Brown promoted the ball through the hands towards backrowers Shaun Lane and Brad Takairaingi and Sivo strolled over yet again. Gutherson again converted from the sideline and it was 40-4.
Parramatta had a late chance to try and get Sivo over for his 5th try, when Cowboys prop Josh McGuire gave away a penalty in front of the posts with minutes remaining, however the captain elected to take the two points on offer much to the dismay of the Eels #2 and the small number of Eels supporters in attendance.
The Eels continue to sit in pole position and they now face Newcastle next week away in what promises to be an enticing match up next Sunday at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Things don't get any easier for North Queensland, who return to Townsville, where they will face the defending premiers the Sydney Roosters next Thursday.