Inspired by the brilliance of Jarryd Hayne, Parramatta produced a stunning second-half comeback at Parramatta Stadium in Round 13 last season to turn a 20-6 deficit into a thrilling 29-20 win. The Eels scored 23 unanswered points to record just their second win of 2012 but for much of the first half it looked like they were staring down the barrel of another big loss.
Leading 6-2 early after Ryan Morgan scored out wide, Parramatta’s season of woe looked set to continue as Cronulla trio Isaac Gordon, Colin Best and Paul Gallen crossed to give the visitors a commanding 20-6 half-time lead. But the break did wonders for the Eels. Two minutes into the second half, Ben Roberts made a break straight through the middle and from the ensuing play Hayne swivelled his way through three defenders to score.
Hayne closed the gap further 55 minutes in, as he bamboozled the defence with some light-stepping and a bullet pass for Luke Burt to cross. And the Eels hit the lead from the very next set as Morgan broke clear down the left edge to send Burt away for his second.
Not content with that effort, Parramatta added a fourth second-half try, with Hayne touching twice as he crossed between the sticks – halfback Chris Sandow capping the win with a wobbly field-goal as the clock ticked down.
Surprisingly, it was Cronulla that dominated possession with 54 per cent and an 89 per cent completion of their sets, compared to 78 from the Eels. They also kicked for 593 metres to 434 and made 62 fewer tackles but couldn’t contain Hayne who scored two tries, ran for 137 metres and produced three tackle-breaks, a line-break, a line-break assists and a try assist.
Colin Best made 110 metres and seven tackle-breaks for Cronulla.