Parramatta Eels moved up to fifth spot in the NRL premiership after a solid second half led by Clint Gutherson to record a 36-20 win over their historic rivals Manly Sea Eagles on Friday night at Brookvale Oval.
The Eels had to produce a second half comeback with three straight tries including superb efforts from Gutherson and Dylan Brown to record two points and solidify their spot in the top eight headed into the final month.
It was a breathless first half of football. Eels despite not having Mitch Moses clicked into gear on the left side. Clint Gutherson with a pair of assists for Maika Sivo to make it 8-0.
Parramatta had it all their own way in the first 20 minutes but were unablt to extend their lead before the Sea Eagles struck back. Tolutau Koula lept high to touch down before a Reuben Garrick kick made it 8-8.
Kieran Foran turned the clock back tonight. The five-eighth directed the Sea Eagles across the park wonderfully then produced a stunning cut-out pass for Jason Saab to roll over the tryline for 14-8.
Sea Eagles were having fun down the left side of the Eels defence. Saab went close twice in setting up Morgan Harper but for some last-ditch work from the Eels kept the scoreline close.
Eels were rewarded for keeping themselves in the game and sent us to the break, locked up. Shaun Lane offloaded to Gutherson went sent Tom Opacic away for a four-pointer in a pulsating half of footy.
In the topsy-turvy game, the Sea Eagles retook the lead just after the break. It was a simple scrum play on the right and Christian Tuipulotu was able to touch down.
Both sides were going tit-for-tat in this blockbuster affair. Waqa Blake produced the putdown of the season, taking in a high pass from Jake Arthur and kept it just inside the line to make it 20-18.
Return of the king put the Eels ahead for the first time since the 20th minute. Combination work between Dylan Brown, Lane and Gutherson sent the fullback away with him showing some toe to give the Eels a 24-20 lead.
The Eels extended their lead with a deft touch from Arthur again. He filled in well for Moses tonight and kicked through for Will Penisini to dive over for 30-20.
Brown put the icing on a huge two points for the Eels. He showed a dummy then sliced through, broke Garrick's ankles before he scored close to the posts.