Parramatta Eels register their first win of the 2022 season in a 32-28 success this afternoon at Western Sydney Stadium.
It was a game where defence was definitely the thing that goes around the stadium. Both teams piled up nine tries in the first half but it was the steady foot of Mitchell Moses which drove the Eels towards two points tonight.
The highlight of the first half was for young winger Sean Russell. He scored a hat-trick of tries in the left corner to make it five tries in only two appearances in first grade and will think this first grade malarky is easy. The Eels looked forboding when they switched the ball to the left but the half ended on a sad note for Russell, who left the field with a rib injury scoring his third.
Parramatta's attack was in fine fettle to open the game. They scored the first two tries of the game to stride out to a 10-nil lead which included a freakish try that thundered off the post and positioned well for Russell to pick up another four-pointer. If 2022 might be the last chance for this Eels squad, they will want to finish inside the top four again and started the season off right.
The Titans showed some resillence after the two early scores. Young half Toby Sexton has been handed the halves mantle and started the season off on the right foot with two terrific passes for Phillip Sami and Brian Kelly to get them back in the contest at 14-10 Eels.
For the rest of the first half, the game resembled a pendulum as both teams found point scoring easy. Waqa Blake and Russell pushed the Eels further ahead at 26-12 before the Titans dug deep to make it 26-22 at the break. Hooker Erin Clark found a pocket of space behind the markers then Kelly got involved again to complete his brace and let everyone take a breather after a pulsating half.
Compared to that, the second half was a snoozefest. It was more tough, grinding football. The Eels only points came from the kicking tee with Moses piloted through three penalty goals to hand the Eels a four-point lead. There will be frustration for the Eels despite the win, as they were camped on the Titans line for a majority of the half without getting across the line again.
Gold Coast Titans will feel slightly aggrieved after that game. They hit the front for the first time in the 45th minute. Sami came from the clouds from a huge Sexton kick and put some extra sauce on the celebration after he fended off Eels fullback Clint Gutherson, giving them a 28-26 lead.
One positive for Justin Holbrook will be the goal-line defense of the Titans. They had to dig deep several times to deny an Eels line-up which has shown they can score points at will and forced them to take the two points on several occasions.