A streak was due to end this clash, with the Warriors victorious in their past three meetings with the Eels... while the boys from Parramatta had won their past four matches. Included in their recent victories were victories against the Bulldogs and Storm and this match, against the Warriors sitting in 14th place on the NRL table, looked like a mismatch at best.
And from the opening whistle that theory was confirmed, with the Eels starting on the front foot before putting on seven tries to one and keeping their fans on the edge of their seats with some scintillating play.
The Game Swung When... From the opening whistle it was obvious who’d win. In just the first set of six Aaron Heremaia attempted to tackle rampaging Parramatta prop Fuifui Moimoi. Heremaia copped a combination of elbow and hip to the head – leaving him dazed and confused – but he recovered and played the entire match. The Warriors, on the other hand, didn’t, and their former coach Daniel Anderson enjoyed watching the carnage that continued for 80 minutes.
Had To Be Seen To Be Believed... Some of the Eels’ tries. They were brilliant shows of teamwork and individual excellence, depending on what moment we’re talking about.
There was Daniel Mortimer’s try after some brilliant ball-play for Fuifui – something few people would ever expect – and some strong running from Luke Burt.
Then there was Burt’s own spectacular kick-ahead try at the end of the first half.
But surpassing these was Hayne’s ‘speccie’ in the second half, when he set up Eric Grothe for what could well be the try of the year. After receiving an inside pass one of the ruck, Hayne ran a few steps before chipping over the line and regathering in the space of 10 metres. The Blues’ dynamo sauntered ahead for another few strides before attracting the attention of both winger and fullback, then passed to Grothe who crashed over close to the western touchline. Simply stunning.
Who Was Hot... Jarryd Hayne’s superstar status continues to grow after another five-star, mesmerising performance. Hayne was simply unstoppable, involved in four of his side’s seven tries.
Of particular highlight was his athletic near-miracle chip-and-chase play in the 58th minute, where he offloaded one-handed for Grothe to score. In total, Hayne ran for a ludicrous 241 metres, registered two line breaks and try assists, and produced four sublime offloads... but amazingly he didn’t cross for a four-pointer of his own.
Who Was Not... The entire Warriors forward pack. Their effort was lacking and from the kick-off it was obvious they were going to be easy prey for the Eels. They were simply outmuscled.
The Eels’ forwards found the going too easy – five made more than 100 metres in the match – while the Warriors’ big men found the going too tough. Had they dominated the centre of the field, they would’ve been a much better chance of competing... and preventing the damage Hayne and co. did so easily.
Refs Watch... It seemed Gavin Badger and Ashley Klein were reluctant to blow penalties early in the match – awarding just two in the opening 30 minutes. But as the match continued there was no great need to blow the whistle – apart from awarding the Eels’ tries. In total seven penalties were awarded throughout the proceedings, keeping the game flowing. Badger continues to grow in confidence, awarding Burt’s 40th-minute try without referral to video referee Russell Smith, despite him grounding the ball just inches inside the dead-in-goal line. It was the right call, but perhaps a little close for comfort?
Injuries... None to report .
NRL.com Best & Fairest... 3 points – Jarryd Hayne (Eels): Simply electric at the back of the Eels’ line-up. Now he’s not only scoring tries, he’s laying them on too. Opponents beware – he’s in red-hot form; 2 points – Luke Burt (Eels): Two tries and eight goals don’t sum up how influential he was in this. Another Eel in career-best form; 1 point – Fuifui Moimoi (Eels): Big, bruising and battering a path through the opposition. Again.
Eels 40 (J Reddy 2, L Burt 2, D Mortimer, M Keating, E Grothe tries; L Burt 6 goals) def Warriors 4 (M Vatuvei try) at Parramatta Stadium. Crowd: 12, 627.