2020 State of Origin squads
14 days ago | LeagueUnlimited Media
The Parramatta Eels have just hung on 28-24 against a spirited Wests Tigers outfit at Bankwest tonight, meaning they will finish in the top 4 for the first time since 2017.
Both sides traded blows early in the piece, with outside backs Blake Ferguson and Tommy Talau scoring tries that each went unconverted in the first 11 minutes.
The scores remained deadlocked until the 22nd minute, when Maika Sivo went over for his 14th try of the season courtesy of some brilliant work in the lead-up by Moses, Gutherson and Andrew Davey.
The Tigers hit back just 3 minutes later through Luciano Leilua, who went himself down as short-side and brushed 3 Parramatta defenders aside to narrow the deficit to 2.
The night was soured for fans of the joint venture after Benji Marshall succumbed to a suspected MCL injury and was forced from the field mid-first half and didn't return.
The bad news kept coming, just as it appeared the Tigers had done the hard yard the Eels were able to crack them in the shadows of half time when a Clint Gutherson kick sat up for returning veteran Brad Takairangi.
The first 15 minutes of the second half belonged to the Wests Tigers. They got a penalty off the first tackle of the half and moments later scored courtesy of a bullet pass from Adam Doueihi to Tommy Talau. While Doueihi was a standout in general play, he didn't bring his goal kicking boots, missing his first 4 attempts.
The Tigers made it an uphill battle for the Eels with two tries in almost as many minutes, the first one coming due to a Blake Ferguson mistake under the high ball and the second one due to a Blake Ferguson mistake in defence, scored by Asu Kepaoa and Luke Brooks respectively.
The lead was extended beyond a converted try when the Tigers kicked a penalty goal in the 57th minute.
As possession began to even up the Eels were getting more cracks at the Tigers defence, and Junior Paulo did what he often does and created something by offloading when it seemed there was nothing on. He got the ball to Reed Mahoney close to the line, who burrowed his way to the line and got the Eels within 2.
It was make or break for Parramatta when they were awarded a penalty 6 minutes later and had to decide whether to even up with a goal or back themselves for the try. They went with the latter and it payed off in that very set, with fill in five-eighth Will Smith dummying and running to score what would end up as the match winner.
The result means that the final order of the top 8 is set, with the Eels set to take on Melbourne in Queensland next week in a qualifying final. That's all she wrote for the Tigers in 2020, who have avoided 9th place, but not in a good way, and will end up in either 11th or 12th pending other results.
Wests Tigers 24 - Parramatta Eels 28
Venue: Bankwest Stadium
Halftime Score: Wests Tigers 8 Parramatta Eels 16
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Adam Doueihi
2 points - Junior Paulo
1 points - Mitchell Moses
WESTS TIGERS (24)
Tries: Tommy Talau (2), Luciano Leilua, Asu Kepaoa, Luke Brooks
Conversions: Adam Doueihi (1/5)
Penalty Goals: Adam Doueihi (1/1)
PARRAMATTA EELS (28)
Tries: Blake Ferguson, Maika Sivo, Brad Takairangi, Reed Mahoney, Will Smith
Conversions: Mitchell Moses (4/5)