Parramatta fight back to deny Tigers at the death

The Wests Tigers waved goodbye to Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence as they faced the Parramatta Eels at Bankwest Stadium, with the Eels looking to lock in a top-four spot.

The Eels started fasted, after forcing a goal-line drop-out.

The ball was shifted right through Mitchell Moses, who found Clint Gutherson, who released Blake Ferguson to score in the corner.

In the eighth minute, Gutherson kicked ahead for Maika Sivo to regather miraculously by his ankles in the sideline, before looking to power over Adam Doueihi, but the full-back did enough to stop the huge winger from stopping.

Doueihi was penalised for a shoulder charge, depsite the fact Sivo was in-touch on a review for the bunker.

Two minutes later, the Tigers hit back.

Luke Garner broke in the middle of the park before a quick play-the-ball allowed Benji Marshall to throw the ball wide to David Nofoaluma.

Nofoaluma then stepped back against the grain before offloading to Tommy Talau who did enough to beat the tackle of Junior Paulo and dive over in the corner.

In the 15th minute, Will Smith put Andrew Davey through the line, and looked to spin out of the tackle before grounding the ball.

However, Brad Takairangi was pinged for standing in the defensive line and interfering with Harry Grant and Nofoaluma.

Just before the 20-minute mark, Marshall was hit high and late by Will Smith and his left leg was twisted awkwardly in the ground.

Smith was placed on report, giving the Tigers a chance to heal Marshall on the sideline.

Three minutes later, the Eels picked up their second try.

Ryan Matterson played the ball quickly just a metre short of the line, which gave Moses and Smith time to combine and Andrew Davey through a small gap, before he offloaded to Sivo.

Sivo then ran around to score by the posts to make the kick easier.

It didn’t take too long for the Tigers to pick up their second though.

Luciano Leilua picked the ball up from dummy-half and powered thorough Blake Ferguson, Waqa Blake and Mitch Moses and managed to get the ball to the line for the score.

In the 35th minute, a high bomb from Moses was going to be difficult for Kepaoa to claimed.

Blake put some pressure on the young winger, and looked to claim the ball before falling over the line and scoring.

However, both players knocked the ball on in their attempts to claim the ball.

At the same time, news came from the sideline that Benji Marshall’s farewell ending would be spent on the bench after picking up an MCL injury.

Parramatta picked up their third try with a few minutes to go until the break as Gutherson stabbed a little kick through and Takairangi was quickest to react and dot down.

HALF-TIME: Wests Tigers 8-16 Parramatta Eels

With three minutes gone in the second half, the Tigers hit back.

A beautiful torpedo pass from Adam Doueihi found Tommy Talau, and the young winger got past Sivo on the outside to score in the corner.

With half an hour to go, the Tigers were level.

Doueihi put up a high bomb, which was dropped by Ferguson.

The loose ball was then picked up by Kepaoa and the young winger dotted down in the corner.

In the Tigers very next set, they took the lead, and gave Doueihi an easier conversion too.

Chris Lawrence sucked in Ferguson to put Kepaoa away on the left-wing, with Kepaoa then passing back inside for Luke Brooks to run away and score.

The Tigers then won a penalty, with 25 minutes to go as Douiehi was tackled off the ball, with the full-back then kicking the goal to go eight-points clear.

The Eels were hit back once again, as Junior Paulo powered towards the posts before offloading to Reed Mahoney to burrow over and narrow the gap.

Moses converted to make it 24-22.

With seven minutes to go, Parramatta took the lead once again.

Mahoney whipped the ball to Smith, who stepped past Doueihi and beat the tackle of Alex Twal and stretch over.

Wests nearly levelled up with three minutes to go as Brooks’ short flat pass put Luke Garner through on the outside shoulder of Moses.

Garner looked to offload back to Brooks but referee Ben Cummins had already called held.

In the final few seconds, Gutherson had the ball in hand on the right edge, and looked to ground the ball while being held above the line, but dropped the ball over the line.

FULL-TIME: Wests Tigers 24-28 Parramatta Eels


Wests Tigers

Doueihi, Nofoaluma, Talau, Lawrence, Kepaoa, Marshall, Brooks, Musgrove, Grant, Mikaele, Garner, Leilua, Twal

Interchanges: Eisenhuth, Taylor, Blore, Chee-Kam

Tries: Talau (2), Leilua, Kepaoa, Brooks

Goals: Doueihi (2/6)

Parramatta Eels

Gutherson, Sivo, Blake, Takairangi, Ferguson, Smith, Moses, Paulo, Mahoney, Evans, Matterson, Davey, Brown

Interchanges: Lane, Kaufusi, Jennings, Alvaro

Tries: Ferguson, Sivo, Takairangi, Mahoney, Smith

Goals: Moses (4/5)

Referee: B. Cummins

Touch Judges: Z. Przeklasa-Adamski, B. Sharpe

Video Referee: S. Chiddy

Image Source: @NRL (twitter)

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