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Razzle-dazzle Eels turn it on to blow away Roosters

The Eels bounced back from a shock loss to the last-placed Bulldogs last Monday to produce one of the best performances of the season as they downed Sydney Roosters 26-16.

In a complete contrast to their lacklustre performance against the Bulldogs, Parramatta's forwards overpowered their rivals and their backs capitalised as the Eels piled on five razzle dazzle tries.

NSW Origin props Junior Paulo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard carried the ball for more than 200 metres each, while back-rower Ryan Matterson produced five of his side's 21 offloads.

There was also a lot to admire about the Roosters performance, with teenage star Joseph Suaalii scoring two spectacular tries, but they have now lost three successive matches for the first time since 2019 to drop out of the top eight.

Fiji winger Maika Sivo made an impressive return to the NRL after a knee reconstruction and finished what was arguably the try of the year after a movement involving 12 sets of hands in the first half.

Inspirational captain Clint Gutherson, who produced an early trysaving tackle on Angus Crichton and dragged Joey Manu in-goal to force a goal line drop-out, was one of just three Eels player not to handle the ball before Siva scored.

Welcome back Maika Sivo

Roosters and Maroons prop Lindsay Collins (dangerous throw) and his Eels and Blues counterpart Reagan Campbell-Gillard (crusher tackle) face an anxious wait to learn if they have been charged by the match review committee after being placed on report.

Brothers Nat and Egan Butcher were ruled out of the match after suffering head knocks, with serious concern about the latter after he caught the hip of Ryan Matterson attempting a second half tackle.

Match snapshot

  • Eels fans must have feared the worst when Kiwi superstar Joey Manu put rising star Joseph Suaali'i over in the corner with a trademark flick pass after just four minutes.
  • Their first indication of what lay ahead came just four minutes later when Dylan Brown combined with Clint Gutherson to put Shaun Lane through a gap and then backed up to score.

Brown hits back for the Eels

  • Isaiah Papali'i put the home time in front for the first time when he scored in the 17th minute after Ryan Matterson offloaded to Reed Mahoney and Mitchell Moses sent the Kiwis second-rower hurtling towards the tryline.
  • The combination of Gutherson, Brown and Lane produced another try just three minutes later, with the Eels skipper scoring after Brown put Lane in a half gap and the second-rower managed an offload near the line. 

Great Gutho

  • Tonga second-rower Sitili Tupouniua stemmed the flow of one-way traffic when he speared through a hole off a short Sam Walker pass to score for the Roosters in the 27th minute.
  • Again the Eels hit straight back, with Fiji winger Maika Sivo celebrating a triumphant return to the NRL after recovering from a knee reconstruction by finishing a spectacular try in the 31st minute.
  • Parramatta hooker Reed Mahoney put his team ahead 26-12 at halftime after Mitchell Moses ran the ball on the last time before linking with Simonsson, who passed inside to Gutherson and Eels captain found Mahoney in support.

Mahoney adds to the highlight reel

  • After a frantic and electric opening 40 minutes in which fans were treated to seven tries, Suaalii was the only one to trouble the scoreboard attendant in the second term.
  • The 18-year-old scored in the 47th minute after Sam Walker, James Tedesco and Joey Manu combined before Suaalii kicked ahead and regathered to collect his second try of the match. 

The kid is special

Play of the game

It may have not only be the try of the match but the try of the year as the Eels spread the ball to one sideline and then the other before Maika Sivo finished a spectacular movement in which 12 players handled.

Bailey Simonsson, playing on the right wing, kept the play alive with an overhead pass inside, while Ryan Matterson managed to fling it back when he appeared set to be tackled and a simple catch and pass by Dylan Brown enabled the ball to get quickly to Saivo, who scored in the left corner, with the crowd chanting his name. 

Electric Eels

What they said

"It was only a couple of weeks ago we went out and played like that against Penrith, who are the best team in the comp, so it is there, it is in us. We have got to have that killer instinct and that drive to want to do it every week. I though the Roosters played really well, they came at us hard - especially in that second half. We were close to the best version of ourselves and we have got to show that every week, and then the talent will come off the back of that. I liked our second half better than our first half because they came at us extremely hard. They were carrying off the back fence in the second half and they had a real red hot crack. We showed plenty of grit," Eels coach Brad Arthur.

Eels: Round 15

"I felt like we dominated that second half. You could see that they were just trying to kick into some positions there to try and hold that lead, and I felt like we were coming after them. From the 47th minute on I felt like we were going to to get them but we just didn't have enough quality combination plays in field position. We should have executed much more play-for-play type questions in that second half to at least grab another one and then go into the last 10 minutes with game on, and that was disappointing." Roosters coach Trent Robinson.

Roosters: Round 15

What's next 

The Eels will be out to cement their place in the top six when they meet the seventh-placed Rabbitohs at Accor Stadium on Saturday, July 2, while the Roosters must become just the second team to beat Penrith after Parramatta the night before to keep in touch with the top eight.

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur dropped Nathan Brown for the Roosters clash and it is hard to imagine him coming back into the side unless there is an injury or suspension in next weekend's representative round.

NSW forwards Junior Paulo, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Ryan Matterson may have done enough to keep their spots for Origin II, while Dylan Brown, Isaiah Papali'i and Marata Niukoreare are in the Kiwis squad to play Tonga, whose squad includes Will Penisini.

The left edge pair of Maika Sivo and Waqa Blake are set to play for Fiji, while prop Makahesi Makatoa has been named in the Cook Islands team to meet Samoa.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson will hope to have halfback Luke Keary (HIA), lock Victor Radley (ankle) and prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (hamstring) back to face the Panthers.

James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou, Joseph Suaali'i (all NSW) and Lindsay Collins are expected to be in Perth for Origin II.

Joey Manu (NZ) and Siosiua Taukeiaho, Sitili Tupouniua and Daniel Suluka-Fifita (all Tonga) will be in Auckland preparing for next Saturday night's Test at Mt Smart Stadium.

  

 

 

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