Warriors v Eels: Five key points
Parramatta finished arguably the club's toughest ever season with a convincing 40-18 defeat of the Warriors on Sunday, with rookie sensation Bevan French at the forefront once again. Here are the five key points from the Round 26 match at Mt Smart Stadium.
French surpasses Hayne's rookie record
With a hat-trick of tries on the day, fullback Bevan French went past Jarryd Hayne's debut season try-scoring mark for the Eels.
The haul in Auckland took French to 19 tries in 13 games, a stunning strike rate which bettered Hayne's 2006 effort of 17 in 16 matches.
French collected all three tries between the 35th and 46th minutes, and Parramatta prop Peni Terepo said French's talents had been a joy to witness in 2016.
"It's good to see him go up the grades and now he is working and playing with us, just to see his natural abilities, he has got really great skills under his belt," Terepo said.
"It's good to have him on our side."
French finished his rookie season as the NRL Telstra Premiership's third-highest try-scorer, behind Suliasi Vunivalu (22) and Jordan Rapana (20).
Warriors fumble it away, again
Any good work the Warriors did on Sunday was just as quickly undone by their abysmal handling errors, which dragged them down time-and-time again.
By the end of the match the Kiwi side had coughed the ball up 15 times, and had completed only 57 per cent of their sets.
Across the season the Warriors sit in the middle of the competition in terms of errors, but in the last month it's been their Achilles heel, averaging 11 per game.
Coach Andrew McFadden said it had been the major issue against Parramatta.
"Just too many errors, simple as that," McFadden said.
"Not just offensively, which obviously put us under heaps of pressure, but defensively we had individuals make errors you can't make.
"That's our season in the last month, it's just errors."
Warriors' best and worst on display
It is hard to believe when you look at the final scoreline of 40-18, but the Warriors actually played some quality football in between periods of being plain awful.
In the opening 10 minutes they were energetic and executed with perfection, taking a 12-0 lead before they even had to make a tackle.
There was also a half-hour segment in the second stanza where the Kiwi side showed resilient goal-line defence, repelling numerous Parramatta raids from close range.
McFadden admitted it had been a perplexing performance, with positives marbled through extreme negatives.
"Yeah, believe it or not I thought there were some extremely good performances, particularly in the middle of the field," McFadden said.
"I thought our forwards did a pretty good job."
Eels excel in miserable conditions
Heavy rain through much of the match, and a subsequently water-logged field, hardly made for ideal conditions to play rugby league, yet Parramatta made it look easy.
From the opening exchanges their style was free-flowing and adventurous, just as it had been a week earlier against the Dragons, and as a result they finished the match having made five line breaks on route to scoring seven tries.
But the most impressive stat to accompany those two was their 85 per cent completion rate, with the Eels having failed to finish only six of their 40 sets.
"One of the training sessions we did during the week we were training in wet conditions like [Sunday night] and we sort of prepared ourselves for wet weather," Terepo said.
"Knowing New Zealand, it's always raining, we sort of based our footy around wet weather and to try and play it safe, but to bring it into our game and how we [like to] play."
Soft tries, hard reality
For all the skill Parramatta displayed, they needed very little to put the finishing touches on most of their tries.
The Warriors were guilty of below-par defensive efforts on a number of occasions, while dropped balls gave Isaac De Gois a pair of uncontested four-pointers in the 17th and 20th minutes.
Aside from the opening two tries, David Fusitu'a gifted French his third by dropping an attempted intercept into the flyer's arms from close range, while Michael Jennings picked up a loose ball to find he had an open 15-metre dash to the line late in the match.
Captain Ryan Hoffman's frustration was clear when quizzed about those defensive lapses.
"We work hard for our points and we just let in soft ones, we let in soft ones last week (against the Tigers), we let in soft ones the week before against Souths," Hoffman said.
"We get ourselves in position to be competitive in the game, and then an individual lapse [happens], that hurts the team."