A 78th minute miraculous try-saving tackle by Jarryd Hayne on Sonny Bill Williams has seen the Eels pull off an upset 14-12 win – their third straight – against reigning premiers the Roosters in front of 15,312 adoring fans at Pirtek Stadium.
In a game where no team stood out and indifferent discipline was frequent, the Eels seemingly pulled off a memorable win thanks to the likes of Chris Sandow, Hayne and workhorse front-rower Tim Mannah.
Eels wingers Semi Radradra and Ken Sio scored all of their team's three tries, while opposite Roosters winger Daniel Tupou did his slim Origin chances no harm – the lanky flanker constantly threatening and scoring a runaway stunner.
While the Eels ended a three game losing streak against the Roosters, including their 56-4 loss in Round 2, Roosters five-eighth James Maloney struggled to impress in what could prove to be a massive blow to reclaiming his Blues jersey.
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While the Eels held on in the end, it was the Roosters who signalled their intentions within the first minute of the game after halfback Mitchell Pearce put teammate Boyd Cordner through a gaping hole in his own half. With support on his outside, Cordner decided to go it on his own and heading in-field the back-rower dropped the ball within 10 metres of his try-line upon getting crunched by the willing defence of the Eels.
In a fast starts from both sides, Sandow sent in a cross-field bomb that ricocheted of the goal post up-right earning his team another set-of-six. Off the back of the repeat set, Eels captain Jarryd Hayne chimed into a back-line movement down the short side with a cut-out pass to his winger Sio in the sixth minute to set up an early 4-0 advantage.
The Roosters hit back in the 16th minute after the Chooks' front-row combination barged up the left-hand side with bullocking hit-ups. The end result was Roosters prop Sam Moa crossing for his side's first try of the night in the 16th minute.
In his 100th NRL game, Roosters back-rower Williams dropped the ball over the line minutes after the Chooks' first try – later ruled to have been influenced by a strip from fullback Hayne. The Roosters did nothing with the resulting play as Cordner again dropped the ball in good territory.
Off the back of poor Roosters discipline, Sandow sent in another inch-perfect bomb on the last play of the set to the waiting arms of Sio in the 26th minute – Sio crossing for his second try of the night on his way in helping his side regain a four-point advantage.
With five minutes left in the half, Eels halfback Sandow turned from hero to zero in a matter of moments. Sending a kick downfield after being constricted to their own half, Sandow, off his own kick, led the Eels' chase and whacked Roosters captain Anthony Minichiello with a glorious grass-cutting tackle.
Yet two plays later, Sandow disappointed the Parramatta faithful by missing a crucial tackle on Chooks winger Daniel Tupou. Tupou proceeded to race 80 metres downfield, eating three chasing defenders on his way to securing a 12-10 half-time lead for his side.
Off the back of a controversial penalty to the Roosters, the Eels marched downfield five minutes into the second-half. In what is becoming a familiar sight out Parramatta way, Eels winger Semi Radradra crossed for his ninth try of the season in his typical barnstorming fashion, the Eels hitting the lead for the third time in the game with a 14-12 advantage.
In the proceeding set, Hayne chipped-and-chased for himself before being denied any chance of regathering the pill when Maloney took the Eels fullback out. Consequentially, the Eels appeared to make the Roosters pay through interchange forward Mitch Allgood. Yet after several minutes of observation from the video referee – it would be deemed a no try. Radradra would be denied a brace of tries moments later in what was an unlucky period of play for the home side.
A moment of magic between the building combination of Sandow and Hayne amounted to nothing in the 62nd minute. Following a Sandow chip through, Hayne caught the ball on the full and breakthrough towards his try-line. With only the fullback to beat, a try-scoring opportunity went begging after an ordinary pass from Hayne was spilt by teammate Peni Terepo.
With the Roosters constantly threatening the Eels' defensive line, hooker Jake Friend being denied with 10 minutes left on the clock, it would come down to a nail-biting final three minutes.
Off a similar play to the one that kicked-off the game's proceedings, Pearce put another back-rower through a gaping hole – this time Williams.
With Williams racing 20 metres downfield towards the white stripe, Hayne pulled off the miraculous try-saving tackle, somehow holding SBW up and forcing the video referee to uphold the on-field ruling of no try.
Hayne's heroics handed the defending premier Roosters their third straight loss.Parramatta Eels 14
(Sio 2, Radradra tries; Sandow goal) def Sydney Roosters 12
(Moa, Tupou tries; Maloney 2 goals). Crowd: