Bulldogs v Eels: Five key points
Moses shapes as Eels saviour, Bulldogs go from bad to worse, French sends an injury scare through the Eels and the unsung heroes stand tall for Parramatta.
Moses morphs into Eels saviour
Since Peter Sterling was forced into an early retirement in 1992 the Eels have been searching for a No.7 to bring them success again and they may have found him in a kid from the Carlingford Cougars.
For a while there it appeared as though Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary wouldn't release Mitchell Moses from the final obligations of his contract with the club, but 10 games into his tenure the 22-year-old is taking the blue and golds back to the promised land.
Parting the Bulldogs defence like his Biblical namesake, Moses showed exceptional pace and footwork in greasy conditions to slice past Chase Stanley and Adam Elliott and then wonderful awareness to find Bevan French back across his body for the fullback to score a sixth try in consecutive weeks in the 26th minute.
With he and Norman putting the 'Dogs on the rack Moses produced another exquisite piece of play late in the first half as he went to the Canterbury line, fooled them with a feigned grubber kick, floated a perfect cut-out pass to Brad Takairangi who put Semi Radradra across in the corner for his 12th try of the year.
At the Tigers he was playing like a petulant brat who wasn't getting his way; at the Eels he has become the perfect foil to Corey Norman and is allowing his natural vision to benefit his team.
Bulldogs go from bad to worse
Stuck inside their own half for the first 15 minutes, the Bulldogs finally received some sweet relief courtesy of a penalty only for Josh Morris to drop it cold as he took the customary tap with his right foot.
If there was five seconds to sum up the Bulldogs' season this was it as a team devoid completely of any confidence to do something constructive while in possession gave it up to an opposition playing like it was a sunny Sunday in September.
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler made a late shift by pairing Chase Stanley in the halves with Josh Reynolds but with only two uses of the footy in Parramatta's half in the opening term there was never an opportunity to inject life into the corpse that is the Bulldogs' attack in 2017.
Such was the ineffective nature of any little ball the Bulldogs had they ended the first half with David Klemmer putting in a kick to the corner for Marcelo Montoya to chase.
The really scary thing? For 40 minutes that was the most likely they looked to score some points.
Parramatta's ruthlessness great warm-up for September
Chasing a sixth win on the trot Parramatta could have been excused for turning up to a soggy stadium and not quite living up to the standards they'd set six days earlier.
But from the opening minutes they clicked into high gear and showed the type of mental resolve to execute in less than ideal conditions and grind a downtrodden Bulldogs team even further into the rain-soaked ANZ Stadium turf.
They were a near flawless 21 from 23 in completed sets with 61 per cent of possession, forced four line drop-outs in the first 20 minutes and a total of five for the half and didn't make an error for the first 18 minutes of the game.
This is a talented footy team but more importantly a very well disciplined one which is exactly the mix you want when finals come around.
And for the first time in eight seasons the Parramatta Eels are going to be there.
French injury a scare for Eels
The footy gods showed once again that you can't always have things go completely your way with Eels fullback Bevan French failing to return for the second half after the side's near perfect opening 40 minutes.
With Clint Gutherson already out for the season the early reports that French had suffered a small hamstring strain made it seem a precautionary move rather than any serious injury but given his importance to a team flying on the back of six straight wins he will no doubt be monitored closely ahead of the clash with Newcastle next Friday night.
With French off the field Corey Norman moved to fullback and the Eels' attack suffered accordingly in the second half but they had plenty of points up their sleeve to cruise to their 13th win of the year.
Unsung heroes stand tall for Eels
For all of the plaudits that Moses and Norman deservedly receive, for the majority of the season they have been playing behind a forward pack that is big on effort and low on fanfare.
Parramatta looked like they might be without form forward Nathan Brown for the majority of the night when Brown suffered a knock to the jaw in the first five minutes but as they have done for the past six weeks especially others stepped up to fill the void.
For just the fourth time in his 91 career games to date Siosaia Vave busted through the 150 mark for run metres, Brown returned to amass 175m, Daniel Alvaro came off the bench to not only break a 35-game try-scoring drought but run for 117m and Kenny Edwards (147), Suaia Matagi (149), Manu Ma'u (120) and Tim Mannah (112) all busted through the ton for metres made.
The Eels have the ability to go deep in September this season and they have got a healthy battalion of big blokes ready to carry them forward.