Perhaps the best try of the year, it started with a shift right, then all the way back to the left, and then ended with a ‘Siiiiiiiiiiivoh’ chant after the crowd favourite touched down for the first time since August 6 of last year.
Nathan Brown provided the entertainment in the preceding game, Dylan Brown during the main event and DJ Havana Brown in between times. Entertainment overload.
“Frustrating,” Eels coach Brad Arthur replied when asked about the attitude difference from the loss to Canterbury.
“It’s there, it’s in us. We have to have that killer instinct and that drive to want to do it every week.
“That’s my job, I’ve got to make sure I find that and get them coming like that every week.”
Clint Gutherson’s role in shifting the early momentum Parramatta’s way can’t be overstated. With his side trailing early, he pulled off a try-saver on Angus Crichton.
Moments later he made another telling tackle, driving Joseph Manu into the in-goal to force a repeat set. It’s appropriate he scored one of the night’s better tries himself.
There was no way that the second half could be played at the same speed as the first, yet the quality was still high. The Eels were offloading at will, although no one was able to match the ones Shaun Lane or Ryan Matterson – celebrating his new four-year deal – produced early.
The Eels were brilliant in the first half and didn’t score a point in the second. Yet, their ability to withstand a spirited fightback please Arthur the most.
“I liked our second half better than our first half,” he said.
Arthur and Trent Robinson wouldn’t have been the only nervous coaches. Roosters James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou, Angus Crichton, Lindsay Collins and Eels Regan Campbell-Gillard, Junior Paulo and Ryan Matterson are all in the frame for Origin II.
We hadn’t even gotten through the softening-up period and each state had a prop on report. Regan Campbell-Gillard was booked for a crusher, Lindsay Collins for a lifting tackle.
Collins threw a further scare into the Maroons camp when he went off for a HIA, but was cleared to return. The focus now shifts onto the match review committee.
In scoring his second try, a wonderful chip-and-chase effort, Joseph Suaalii kept his team in the contest while making a statement for Brad Fittler. Finally, the Blues boss has a welcome headache after losing the first game and Jack Wighton.
“I feel like he showed his quality there. I believe in him,” Robinson said of Suaalii’s Blues prospects.
“After a while you take age and number of games out of there. If you take that out of your mind, he’s playing some really good footy.”
It was a rough night for the Butcher boys. Both Nat and Egan were taken off for concussions, putting their immediate playing futures in doubt. In Egan’s case, he required a medicab to bring him from the field after reeling out of a collision.
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