Parramatta Eels travelled the ANZ Stadium to face the Giant-killing Canterbury Bulldogs as these two Western Sydney rivals went head-to-head in round 12.
Despite their best efforts, the Bulldogs couldn’t stop the visitors from scoring first.
An error from Marcelo Montoya gave the Eels possession on the 20-metre line, and three tackles later, Junior Paulo crashed forwards and managed to get an offload away to Mitchell Moses who slid over for the first try of the night.
In the 10th minute, the Bulldogs looked to have pulled one back as Nick Meaney claimed a fifth tackle kick against Clint Gutherson to give the home side a repeat set.
They then spread the ball left through Lachlan Lewis to Montoya who slid over.
However, before Montoya had grounded the ball, Raymond Faitala-Mariner obstructed Moses in the Eels line and the try was disallowed.
Five minutes later, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak played the ball in the wrong direction for a penalty, and straight after the tap the Eels shifted the ball left to Michael Jennings, who stepped inside Lewis, then passed to Gutherson to beat Meaney, and the full-back scored.
The Eels were in the mood for scoring tries and in the 25th minute crossed once more.
Waqa Blake kicked along the ground, and the ball was collected by Jennings, but the centre was held up.
Parramatta did win a penalty though, as Nathan Brown was taken off the ball by Ofahiki Ogden, which came to nothing after a heavy kick from Moses.
Moses made up for his poor kick minutes later, as he dropped the ball onto his right foot, against the grain for Gutherson to chase on to and ground the ball.
The Bulldogs were determined to stay in the game though, as after forcing a goal-line drop-out charged up towards the Eels try line.
On tackle four, the ball was moved right through Liam Foran towards Faitala-Mariner and the big second-rower crashed over from five metres out.
In the final minute of the half, the Eels were back inside the Canterbury 10-metre line, but this time Moses kick didn’t bounce the right way for Blake and the half came to an end.
HALF-TIME: Canterbury Bulldogs 6-18 Parramatta Eels
The Bulldogs cut the deficit further in the opening minutes of the second period.
They opted to run the ball on the last tackle, as Lewis threw a long pass to Watene-Zelezniak who stepped back inside, and pass to Jake Averillo wrapping round.
The young centre then jumped from the field of play, and over the touchline, swapped the ball into the left hand and ground the ball with centimetres of room to play within a spectacular finish.
Just after the 50th minute, Canterbury once again and repeated the play that sent Montoya over earlier in the night.
This time, Faitala-Mariner was, correctly, not penalised for obstruction as Lewis’ quick catch and pass allowed Montoya to score on the left-wing.
Following a 50-metre break on zero tackle, the home side found themselves in the Parramatta half once again.
Neither side took control of the next ten minute period, and the score remained 16-18 with 15 minutes on the clock.
With time quickly running out, and Bulldogs were pushing for the match-winning try, a picked up a goal-line drop-out but it wasn’t enough as the Eels forced an error from Josh Jackson.
The Bulldogs would have the ball in hand for the final seconds, but Lewis’ kick was collected by Sivo as the Eels picked up a narrow win.
FULL-TIME: Canterbury Bulldogs 16-18 Parramatta Eels
Meaney, Watene-Zelezniak, Lafai, Averillo, Montoya, Foran, Lewis, Tolman, Marshall-King, Napa, Jackson, Faitala-Mariner, Thompson
Interchanges: Cogger, Katoa, Sue, Ogden
Tries: Faitala-Mariner, Averillo, Montoya
Goals: Averillo (2/3)
Gutherson, Sivo, Jennings, Blake, Ferguson, Brown, Moses, Campbell-Gillard, Mahoney, Paulo, Lane, Niukore, Brown
Interchanges: Davey, Evans Jaufusi, Takairangi
Tries: Moses, Gutherson (2)
Goals: Moses (3/3)
Referee: C. Sutton
Touch Judges: B. Sharpe, L. Kennedy
Video Referee: B. Norrie
Image Source: @NRL (Twitter)