The Eels did it tough but they secured a tough 32-24 victory over the Warriors tonight at ANZ Stadium.
By the end they were down to 14 players but the Eels held off a fast finishing Warriors side to vault themselves back into the top eight. Five-eighth Clint Gutherson was the star with 16 points as he piloted the side around against a former Eels six.
It was a fast start from the Eels against one of the better sides in the Warriors in the first half. Kirisome Auva'a exploited the space left from the Warriors defense for the opener before Gutherson sprung into action to allow former kiwi international Josh Hoffman to make it 12-nil.
Warriors once they got some ball to hand were able to string together some nice plays as they profited off a re-adjusted Eels defense due to the injuries of Kaysa Pritchard (concussion), Hoffman (knee) and later Davd Gower (hand) to make it 12-all just before the break.
Former Eel Kieran Foran took the playmaking responsibility as he sent Simon Mannering across for his 63rd NRL try before some fantastic hands down the sideline allowed Ken Maumalo to put in a classic wingers effort in the corner.
Just as the Warriors got back into the contest, the Eels had stolen back the lead. An errant kick from Shaun Johnson landed in the hands of Semi Radradra and the rampaging winger fended off Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to go the length for an 18-12 half-time score.
Eels added eight more points to their lead, to stretch to a game-high 14 when Gutherson nailed a penalty then Tepai Moeroa followed the basics of league, running hard and straight put the score out to 26-12.
The Warriors continued to attack and used their pace against a tiring Eels defense to make it a nervous end. Issac Luke was primary with his scoots from dummy-half which stretched the defense and allowed Tuivasa-Sheck to use some slick feet to reduce the deficit to two after Ryan Hoffman crashed across.
A depleted Eels side wouldn't be denied tonight - fittingly Gutherson sealed the victory in the final 60 seconds when he crashed over from dummy-half even with some suspect dance moves the five-eighth hit all the right steps to lead the Eels back into the top eight.
Both sides hop a plane next weekend with the Eels off to Darwin where they play host to the Cowboys, while the Warriors head to Cbus Stadium on the Gold Coast to face the Titans.