Electric Eels outclass gallant Tigers on slippery Bankwest surface

NRL2021
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Parramatta Eels v Wests Tigers

The Parramatta Eels are back in the NRL winners circle after beating a brave Wests Tigers outfit 26 points to 16 on Thursday night on a Bankwest surface not unlike a banana peel in terms of how easy it was for the players to run on.

Despite the result, it was the Tigers who got first blood in the opening 2 minutes of the match. Russell Packer got his team a penalty off his first touch and the Tigers rolled upfield. It was eventually off season recruit Luciano Leilua who crashed onto a peach of a pass from Harry Grant to score the opening try of the match. It would've been that much sweeter for Tigers fans given he was the direct replacement for the polarising Ryan Matterson, who himself was ruled out early due to an HIA. 

It took the Eels just 8 minutes to strike back and there were no prizes for guessing who scored the try. Maika Sivo finished off a slick Eels backline movement and brushed pass would-be tackler Adam Doueihi on his way to his 8th try of season 2020. Scores were locked up at 4 apiece after 10 minutes.

For the next 10 minutes it was all the Wests Tigers. They extended their lead to 6 after Adam Doueihi had probably his best pass in the NRL to send David Nofoaluma over the line almost untouched and Moses Mbye iced a rare sideline conversion. The new found momentum made the imminent decision to take the 2 points in the 20th minute all the more bizarre, and it was almost immediately followed by one of the best tries a big man can ever score. 

Reagan Campbell-Gillard was on the receiving end of a Clint Gutherson short ball 50 metres out from the line and exhausted every last bit of pace he had in him to burn fullback Adam Doueihi and outrun winger Tommy Talau on his way to a memorable 4 pointer. 3 minutes later the Eels kicked a penalty goal and all of the sudden scores were level again. 

The final scoring play of the half was just as brilliant as Mitchell Moses showed Parramatta exactly what they were missing over the last 3 weeks with a magical piece of eyes up play. It was the second tackle in attacking range and the former Tiger saw the fullback was out of position and performed a chip 'n' chase executed to perfection. It meant the Eels would go into the half time break up by 6 points in a remarkable turnaround. 

It only took the Eels 4 minutes of the second half to post more points, with Shaun Lane chasing down a Gutherson grubber to further Parramatta's lead to 10. A period of arm wrestling would follow before the stalemate was broker off the back of another sweeping play finished off by Sivo. 

Blake Ferguson produced the greatest no try in the history of Rugby League with 3 minutes left in the game. He had 10 metres to go and performed a move more commonly seen in high jump to go aerial and only just get the ball down in the field of play, however it all counted for naught as replays showed a knock on in the leadup.

Rookie winger Tommy Talau was able to score a consolation try in the final minute, finishing off some deft work from his side, in particular Moses Mbye who did well to sum up the situation and put Talau in a position to score. 

The Eels will play the Bulldogs next week in a return to ANZ Stadium for the NRL, while the Tigers will take their home game to the SCG on Friday evening against the Warriors.

Parramatta Eels 26 - Wests Tigers 16

Venue: Bankwest Stadium
Crowd: 6403
Halftime Score: Parramatta Eels 18 Wests Tigers 12

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Mitchell Moses
2 points - Reagan Campbell-Gillard
1 points - Benji Marshall

PARRAMATTA EELS (26)
Tries: Maika Sivo (2), Mitchell Moses, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Shaun Lane
Field Goals:
Conversions: Mitchell Moses (2/5)
Penalty Goals: Mitchell Moses (1/1)

WESTS TIGERS (16)
Tries: Luciano Leilua, David Nofoaluma, Tommy Talau
Field Goals:
Conversions: Moses Mbye (1/3)
Penalty Goals: Moses Mbye (1/1)


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