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Knights sink willing Eels

It went down to the wire but the Newcastle Knights won their second successive game as they edged out the Parramatta Eels 16-10 at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

In a rare sight for supporters when playing at Parramatta, the Eels lost their first home game this season in a tight contest, ending an eight-match winning run at the ground.

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The Eels were left counting a number of missed chances with their right side players Corey Norman, Ryan Morgan and Vai Toutai constantly threatening.

The first half was punctuated with a fullback battle between Darius Boyd and Jarryd Hayne, with both men scoring runaway tries.

While Newcastle struggled to get out of their own half in the opening stages, two penalties to the Knights helped the away side's cause as winger Akuila Uate crossed for his tenth try of the season and his seventh in five games in the first five minutes thanks to slick ball movement from Kade Snowden and Boyd.

Not to be outdone, Parramatta captain Hayne hit back only three minutes later. Situated 20 metres out from his own try-line, Hayne caught a Knights a fifth tackle play 20 metres from his own line and in a blink of an eye the fullback stepped around Uate to race 80 metres down the sideline to put the Eels up 6-4.

With errors beginning to creep in for both teams, it was fitting the next try came off the back of an error. With several players from either side challenging a Jarrod Mullen bomb in the 30th minute Parramatta centre Ryan Morgan failed to get his hands to the ball, instead knocking it into the hands of Knights centre Joey Leilua who regathered at the line for a 10-6 lead.

Morgan was in the thick of things again five minutes later when an attempt at an Eels bomb bounced of his shoulder and into the hands of Boyd. With no-one in front of him the Knights fullback raced 95 metres downfield to score the second runaway try of the afternoon. 

Down 16-6 at halftime, Parramatta had a great opportunity to score points in good territory eight minutes after the resumption. 

Eels five-eighth Corey Norman broke free of the Newcastle defence leaving him and winger Toutai two-on-one with Boyd out wide. With Uate running up between the two Eels players, Toutai let a chance go begging after failing to catch the drawing pass.

A tackle-busting run from Dane Gagai almost paid dividends for Newcastle with a possible try but Leilua's potential second of the afternoon was disallowed for a knock on in the lead up.

The missed opportunity came back to haunt the Knights with ten minutes remaining in the game thanks to a bullocking Semi Radradra, who crossed for his 15th try of the season to shorten Newcastle's lead to 16-10.

With the Knights heaping further pressure on a frantic Eels side, halfback Chris Sandow produced a trademark 10 metre goal-line dropout which found touch to regain possesion and leave left Knights feeling nervous in the final four minutes.

However as full-time approached the Eels couldn't capitalise on some further good field position and the Knights held on to their six point advantage to record back to back wins.

Knights 16 (Uate, Leilua, Boyd Tries; Gidley 2 Goals) defeated Eels 10 (Hayne, Radradra Tries; Sandow Goal) at Pirtek Stadium. Crowd: 15,566.

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