Chris Sandow looks to have hit his straps under new Eels coach Ricky Stuart.
Canterbury continued their march towards the minor premiership with a comfortable 32-12 victory over their old rivals – although it took a late surge to put an end to Parramatta’s brave resistance.
Clearly outclassed, the Eels looked set for a thrashing when they trailed 10-0 early thanks to Josh Morris’ well-worked opener and a stunning 100-metre solo effort from Bulldogs superstar Ben Barba.
But a pinpoint cross-field kick by Luke Kelly to a flying Ken Sio, followed by a superb team try to Ryan Morgan to cancel out Morris’ second, had the visitors trailing just 16-12 with 25 minutes remaining.
The turning point was a sweeping movement to the Bulldogs’ lethal left side that saw Jonathan Wright cross in the corner and effectively break Parramatta’s spirit.
Nine minutes later Josh Reynolds stepped up to the plate as he raced through a gap from 20 metres out and stepped fullback Luke Burt to score before Wright put the icing on the cake as he leapt highest to claim a Kris Keating bomb.
The Eels’ cause wasn’t helped by the loss of impact prop Fuifui Moimoi, who was knocked senseless with the very first hit-up of the game and took no further part.
The Bulldogs enjoyed 53 per cent of possession with their dominant pack helping them run for 1453 metres to Parramatta’s 1256. Tellingly, the Eels missed 41 tackles to just nine by the home side.
Barba was again unstoppable with a line-break, two line-break assists and 248 metres to his name while James Graham added 143 metres of his own.
Eels captain Nathan Hindmarsh worked hard for his side, making 50 tackles and missing just one.