Parramatta have defeated a resilient Roosters side by 31-18 in a brutal match at Bankwest Stadium tonight.
The match was overshadowed by several incidents that the Match Review Committee will be busy investigating tomorrow morning, with Eels stars Dylan Brown and Marata Niukore sure to be the most nervous. Both players are likely to be charged in the lead up to a disallowed try at halftime by Roosters five-eighth Drew Hutchinson. Hutchinson copped knees in the back from Brown and was immediately rushed to hospital with broken ribs and a suspected punctured lung. Niukore also collected James Tedesco high in the lead up, along with a suspected shoulder charge which luckily for the home side only led to a penalty.
Both sides earlier lost key players to head injury assessments, with Eels hooker Reed Mahoney coming off second best in defence, which was offset by the Roosters losing Victor Radley in the similar circumstances.
Halfback Mitch Moses was the standout, setting up three tries and kicking the match winning field goal in his best performance of the season. The win for the home side puts the Eels into outright second on the NRL ladder in another great start for the season for Brad Arthur's team.
The Roosters will be proud of the effort, however with injuries continuing to mount their depth will certainly be at breaking point in the coming weeks.
The Tricolours came into the game in the unfamiliar position of underdogs. They were however welcoming back their superstar fullback James Tedesco, who managed to make an immediate impact when he found some space down the right-hand side and produced a superb pass for Matt Ikuvalu, who managed a spectacular touch down to open the scoring and the Roosters jumped out 4-0 lead.
Parramatta has managed to turn Bankwest Stadium into a fortress in recent times and they predictably hit back, when Mitchell Moses kicked across field for his backrower in Ryan Matterson. Matterson made the catch and shifted the ball wide to Blake Ferguson who showed tremendous strength to carry two Roosters defenders over the line in the corner to score. Moses converted from out wide and the Eels lead 6-4 after 20 minutes.
Parramatta looked likely again minutes later, before they put down a loose pass and the ball was picked up by Roosters backrower Nat Butcher, who managed to find Ikuvalu in support. The Roosters winger then accelerated away from the Eels cover defence to score under the posts and regain the lead for the visitors.
The Eels then regained the lead when Mitchell Moses kicked again for Matterson on the last and he then produces a neat offload for super sub Bryce Cartwright who scooped up the pass and slam the ball down for a try just minutes after entering the field of play.
Parramatta then kicked away when hooker Reed Mahoney darted out of dummy half close to the line and put on an old school run around play with his prop Junior Paulo which saw Cartwright steam onto the ball to score his second try. Moses converted and the Eels lead 18-10 and looked to have the match in their control.
Minutes before the half time break however the Roosters looked to have scored through five-eighth Drew Hutchison, however replays showed a knock on in the lead up. The Tricolours didn't come away empty handed with Eels centre Marata Niukore penalised for a shoulder charge on Tedesco, which will surely come under more scrutiny this week. With Hutchison assisted from the field, Adam Keighran kicked the penalty goal to narrow the Parramatta lead to 18-12 at the break.
It was a shocking start to the second half from the Roosters, when two try hero Matt Ikuvalu turned villain, when he dropped a Moses bomb and Tom Opacic collected the loose ball for a gift wrapped try to score next to the posts to extend the Eels lead 24-12.
The Roosters needed something special to get back into the match and they got just that, when Ikuvalu scored his hat trick, after rookie number seven Sam Walker threw a superb floating pass over the top of hit the stocky winger on the chest for him to score in the corner. Keighran then nailed the conversion from the sideline and the Roosters revival was on with 15 minutes remaining.
Parramatta just couldn't manage to put the resilient Roosters away until with six minutes remaining, Moses kicked a field goal to give his side a seven-point lead. Minutes later they well and truly iced the match when Dylan Brown stepped through a number of exhausted Roosters defenders clinching a brutal victory for the Eels at home.
Both sides now travel to Brisbane for Magic Round next weekend, with Parramatta taking on the Warriors on Sunday afternoon, while the Roosters will need to find some reinforcements before taking on the Cowboys on Saturday night.