Eels dig deep against Cowboys

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Parramatta Eels v North Queensland Cowboys

The Eels turn up for a full 80 minutes to beat the Cowboys by 7 points in a thrilling game at CommBank Stadium.

The game's pace was set from the start, with Jeremiah Nanai going over five minutes in after a Scott Drinkwater kick on the opposition's line. 

Only five minutes later, the Eels pounced on a penalty for foul play to push towards the Cowboys' line. Dylan Brown made a momentum-shifting tackle to put even more pressure on the Cowboys in their quarter of the field. The Eels capitalised on the possession, with Joe Ofahengaue storming over to level up the scores.

The game continued to see-saw, and it was only a lazy tackle from Jason Taumalolo on J'maine Hopgood in the Cowboy's 20m zone that gave the Eels a penalty in front and easy points to take the lead by 2 points.

The Eels continued to attack, and although it looked dangerous, they failed to put any polish on the ball when it mattered. With a forward pass penalty, the Cowboys took the opportunity with possession to send Tomas Chester over in the 18th minute, to the dismay of the home crowd.

The game continued again with momentum shifts, and good phases of attack only really being undone by errors. At the 27th-minute mark, Griffin Neame's loose hand in the ruck was all the Eels needed to regain composure. During some broken play on the Cowboys' line, Joey Lussick jumped over to give the Eels the lead.

Until halftime, both teams continued to march up the field and back again. Both teams were finding space, and the Eel's game plan seemed to centre around the movement of the ball and trust in their players to be there when it mattered. The Cowboys were doing the same, with Tom Dearden and Drinkwater racking up the meters in the middle and out wide.

Drinkwater started the second half started with a penalty, as Bailey Simonsson showed excellent game awareness to catch the ball off the kickoff with a leg over the line. From here, the Eels pushed forward continually with venom. Even in the face of some stiff-line defence by players like Val Holmes, the Eels finally broke through as Morgan Harper got his hands on the end of a nice Dylan Brown grubber.

It was a tight game, and teams only really got ahead when errors occurred. Shaun Lane failed to finish off the Eels set, getting out of their half, and in a few minutes, Val Holmes went over to put the Cowboys right back in the game.

The Eels looked like they had another try after some more sustained pressure on the Cowboys' line saw Joey Lussick get over from a line dropout. But the Bunker found him offside.
Credit to the Eels, as this could have easily taken the wind out of their attack, but they hit back five miners later, with Daejarn Asi going over to push the Eels out to 26-14 after Clinton Gutherson's successful conversion.

With desperation seeping into the Cowboys' game, a series of bad passes managed to break the play up enough that they found a hole down the Eels' right, sending Drinkwater over for a try in his 100th NRL game. And with 10 minutes left and at 26-20, all the sights were a cracker of an ending.

But it was the Eels who continued to complete sets and put the pressure on the Cowboys, who seemed tired and on the back foot for the last 10 minutes,

With 4 minutes to go, Daejarn Asi managed to get a field goal in, and it sent that it would be a bridge too far for the Cowboys, who were out on their feet after a stop attack by the eels.

A great expansive game of footy and it's the style that players like Brown and Gutherson thrive in and the team bought into it. The Cowboy's talent just wasn't enough, and it seemed the last 10 minutes were them done. The Eels definitely came for the 80 minutes.

Parramatta Eels 27 - North Queensland Cowboys 20

Venue: CommBank Stadium, Parramatta / Burramattagal
Crowd: 14433
Halftime Score: Parramatta Eels 14 North Queensland Cowboys 10 Players of the Match:
3 points - Clinton Gutherson
2 points - Dylan Brown
1 points - Valentine Holmes

Tries: Joe Ofahengaue, Joey Lussick, Morgan Harper, Daejarn Asi
Field Goals: Daejarn Asi (1/1)
Conversions: Clinton Gutherson (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Clinton Gutherson (1/2)

Tries: Jeremiah Nanai, Valentine Holmes, Tomas Chester, Scott Drinkwater
Conversions: Valentine Holmes (2/4)

See how it happened in our Match Centre