Eels' clutch try was a play gone wrong
A vital try right on half-time in Parramatta's narrow 20-16 win over the defending premiers on Saturday night was actually a play gone wrong, according to the man who scored it.
With the home side clinging to a tight 8-6 lead a minute from the break despite a mountain of possession and field position, a fortuitous blocking penalty against Kyle Feldt handed them one last shot at extending their lead.
In what was meant to be a regulation block play and shift to the right, bench forward Kenny Edwards spotted the defence sliding out to handle the move and overcalled the play and received the ball from first receiver Kieran Foran on his angled run in rather than the ball going to sweeper and fullback Michael Gordon.
The call paid huge dividends as Edwards burst between middle defenders Jake Granville and Matt Scott and shrugged through second efforts from Lachlan Coote and Gavin Cooper – the man who originally drifted right to cover the block play – to plant the ball down next to the posts.
"It was actually a move gone wrong," Edwards revealed to NRL.com after the game.
"I called a move, last minute the defenders drifted out and it wasn't on so I cancelled it and tried to hit the line as hard as I could and was lucky enough to get over."
Edwards confirmed the original plan had been to go wide until the defenders covered for that play.
"Plan A was to play a block play off me, it's one we play well on the right side but I saw the defenders drift and they numbered up well so I just had to punch the line and like I said I was lucky to get over."
Edwards said the six-point play gave the side a much-needed lift at the break after struggling to penetrate the Cowboys' defence.
"We had a lot of ball in that first half and to only be up 8-6 was a credit to the Cowboys, they're not the premiers for nothing so we knew we had to come out and put a big second half in."
He may have been sitting on the sidelines at the time but Edwards, like anyone at the club, remembers what happened on an eventful night at Pirtek Stadium in Round 13 last year, when the Cowboys surged back from a 30-6 deficit on the back of a Johnathon Thurston masterclass and a six-minute hat-trick from Gavin Cooper to stun the Eels 36-30.
"We knew what happened last year, that was in the back of our minds so we were pretty lucky!" laughed Edwards.