Eels claim SG Ball crown

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The Parramatta Eels have continued their dominance of the SG Ball Cup, running out 30-22 winners over the Cronulla Sharks at Leichhardt Oval.

The win gives the Eels their twelfth win in the competition, the most out of any club.

Surges at the start of both halves helped the Eels to lay a platform that proved a bridge too far for the Sharks, who despite showing a gallant effort in the second half, ultimately fell short.  

Man of the match honours went to Dylan Brown, capping off a terrific finals series for the young man. He had a hand in a number of tries, and was influential with ball in hand.

It was fitting that the match began with contact that could be heard in Concord, as Valance Harris launched himself at the Cronulla defence on the opening play. They didn't have to wait long for first points, as a line break from Haze Dunster helped to set up Ethan Parry on the next play, providing the perfect start for the Eels.

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Harris was instrumental in the second Eels try, making a 50-metre burst off the kick-off. Parramatta earnt a repeat set soon after, with Parry earning a double inside ten minutes, giving them a 12-0 lead early on.

Parramatta's early dominance with the ball, coupled with Cronulla's poor handling, gave the impression this match would be over before half-time, however the Sharks managed to fight their way back into it.

After earning possession and a number of repeat sets, the Sharks finally got themselves on the board, with Monty Raper capitalising on an Eels error, cutting the advantage back to just six.

They had plenty of opportunities through dropped balls and penalties deep in Eels territory, but Cronulla couldn't crack them before the main break.

The second half started just as Parramatta was hoping for, as Cronulla dropped the ball from the kick-off, giving the Eels a set in their half. They delivered on the next set, as a fortunate bounce landed in the hands of Joseph Taipari, who dived over just two minutes after half-time.

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Cronulla were again struggling to maintain possession, and found themselves on the back-foot as a Parramatta chaser was clearly held back whilst attempting to regather a kick, giving referee Clayton Wills no other option than to award a penalty try, extending the lead out to 26-6.

The Eels were well on top at this stage and looked to coast to victory, before a penalty gave the Sharks a golden opportunity, which they grabbed with both hands through Ronaldo Mulitalo.

They continued to build on their momentum when Mulitalo made a break in the middle of the field, producing a terrific offload to Jaeman Salmon who gave the Sharks back-to-back tries.

The lead was cut back to four points not long after, as Teig Wilton burst through the Eels defence, setting up a grandstand finish with just under ten minutes to play.

That comeback was short-lived however, as the Sharks dropped the ball from the next set of six, gifting Parramatta possession, and resulting in a fantastic hat-trick to Parry, who spun out of a tackle to ground the ball in the corner. 

RELATED: See the full list of 2017 SG Ball Cup Draw and Results.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 22 Parramatta Eels 30
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Date: Saturday 6 May 2017 at 2:00pm

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (22)
Tries: Monty Rpaer, Teig Wilton, Jaeman Salmon, Ronaldo Mulitalo
Goals: Luke Metcalf 3

Parramatta Eels (30)
Tries: Ethan Parry 3, Joe Taipari, Dylan Brown
Goals: Kyle Schneider 5