Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
The Parramatta Eels have come from twelve points down to down the Wests Tigers 26-22 at ANZ Stadium on Easter Monday.
Parramatta started off the day by celebrating the 70th Anniversary since their entry into the first grade competition - a milestone every NRL fan would be happy to cheer.
It was a spectacular day at Sydney Olympic Park, where the crowd for an Easter Monday afternoon cracked 28,000. Everyone was in for a fun-filled, fast-paced contest.
The game was off to a very quick start, Radradra running 30 metres down the sideline, with a pass to Michael Jennings who ran the last 20 and crossed the line in under 2 minutes! Clint "G-he's-a-legend"-utherson gets the conversion and things were off to a bright start for the home side.
A forward pass from Jennings to Radradra saw the Tigers gain possession, and shortly after Mitchell Moses parted the blue and gold sea, crossing over the line. His own try converted, the game was level.
Next, a ball from Gutherson, to Brad Takairangi, then to Corey Norman, and finally ending up with Kirisome Auva'a saw the Eels' stand-in centre score. Ga-ga-Gutherson's unfortunate missed conversion, saw the margin reduced to four.
The Wests Tigers bagged a penalty late in the first half, from which Sauaso Sue crossed over the line. Moses parted the posts for the conversion to travel in between, and the Tigers were ahead by two.
Jack Littlejohn launched a chip-kick, chased by Kevin Naiqama, complete with a perfect bounce which saw the bouffant-haired winger gain a try of his own just before half time. Moses was unable to command the ball through the posts this time.
The second forty was also fast-paced, with both teams making plenty of metres.
The Tigers were first to get the scoreboard ticking over for the second half, taking themselves to 22-10 off the back of Matt McIlwrick sailing over the line, from a forward pass made by the Eels. Moses converted easily from in front.
Parramatta were staring at a fifth straight loss at this point. Being twelve points down wouldn't lift anyone's spirits, but the Eels knew the game wasn't over. With 28 minutes still to go, the hosts had plenty of time to correct themselves. They did just that, firstly via the ball travelling from the left edge to the right edge, Auva'a beating teammate Josh Hoffman to the ball to score his second for the afternoon.
A hooked conversion saw a very verbal Clint Gutherson comment to the officials after being sledged repeatedly by Moses in the lead-up. Nonetheless, the Eels were down by eight, with twenty minutes to go.
Not even 5 minutes had ticked over before Auva'a and Hoffman were running for another try. Auva'a passed the ball to Hoffman to give him a go for once, and the Wests Tigers' defence was falling apart! Wake-Me-Up-Before-You-Go-Go-Gutherson converted with a cracker of a kick from the sideline, bringing the Eels within two.
Shortly after, the Bunker was finally used after a quiet shift for the men underground. The review was not for the try, but for late contact by Aaron Woods on Semi Radradra. This could have been a possible eight point try, but the referees determined it wasn't foul play.
With the green lights, the Eels were in front for the first time in the half. The Eels call this man the G.O.A.T, the Gutherson-Of-All-Time! The Parramatta fullback converted another for the hosts to be four points ahead inside the final ten minutes.
Try as they might - partciularly James Tedesco - the Tigers couldn't peg back the Eels' second half momentum and it was Parramatta who won the day. Another derby looms for the Eels when they face Penrith next Saturday at ANZ, while the Wests Tigers are back at the same venue on Sunday when they host Canterbury.
Parramatta Eels 26 - Wests Tigers 22
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Halftime Score: Parramatta Eels 10 Wests Tigers 16
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Michael Jennings
2 points - Kirisome Auva'a
1 points - Clint Gutherson
PARRAMATTA EELS (26)
Tries: Michael Jennings, Kirisome Auva'a (2), Josh Hoffman, Semi Radradra
Conversions: Clint Gutherson (3/5)
WESTS TIGERS (22)
Tries: Mitchell Moses, Sauaso Sue, Kevin Naiqama, Matt McIlwrick
Conversions: Mitchell Moses (3/4)