It wasn’t all that long ago – just five rounds, to be precise – that the Eels travelled up to Skilled Park and looked set to take the points when they held a 22-8 lead with just over 20 minutes to go.
But on the back of an avalanche of penalties – seven straight in the second half – the Titans ran in two tries and kicked a penalty to draw level heading into the final 10, before a seemingly inevitable try to Albert Kelly put them six in front and despite some late jitters the Eels weren’t able to cross again and earn a shot at golden-point.
After the Titans had started brightly when rookie winger Anthony Don opened the scoring, it was all Parramatta for the next 40 minutes as centre Ryan Morgan and in-form fullback Jarryd Hayne (with two tries) put the Eels out to what had seemed a match-winning lead.
The final penalty count of 12-4 against didn’t help the Eels nor did their 34 missed tackles (22 from the Titans)… nor the fact that, as has been the theme all year, their forwards were outrun. The Titans made 1508 metres versus Parramatta’s 1152.
Second-rower Greg Bird was a stand-out for the home side, running for 202 metres from 22 runs with two offloads. With five-eighth Aidan Sezer out, Beau Henry filled in admirably in his only game of the year so far, slotting six goals from six attempts.
Bustling Eels centre Jacob Loko looked good in a beaten side with 154 metres from 13 runs with five tackle-breaks.