Titans opt to part ways with coach Henry

Neil Henry

Whether you think it is a good move or not or the circumstances behind it, the Gold Coast Titans have opted to part ways with coach Neil Henry.

After meeting to discuss Henry’s future, the decision was made with CEO Graham Annesley addressing the media about the decision.

“The Board took into consideration a number of matters in making this decision and have chosen to end Neil’s time here as Coach,” Annesley said.

“The Board met and addressed a range of issues and were driven by making a decision that was best for the club to move forward into the future.”

The club thanked Henry for his time as head coach and wished him well for future roles and endeavors.

 

Knights back-rower opts to return to England

Joe Wardle

Some overseas endeavours work out and others do not and for Joe Wardle, despite trying to make a go of the NRL with the Newcastle Knights, he made a decision to return to  England.

Wardle, who has so far played 15 games for the Newcastle Knights, previously played for the Huddersfield Giants and will head back to England, signing with the Castleford Tigers.

The Scottish international thanked the opportunity given to him by the Knights and looks forward to his time at the Tigers.

“I would just like to say thank you to Newcastle for working alongside me in what has been a hard time adjusting to life down under,” said Wardle.Rugby careers are short so happiness is key and sometimes things don’t work out, which

“Rugby careers are short so happiness is key and sometimes things don’t work out, which is, unfortunately, the case.

I am really looking forward to getting back home, getting my family settled and teaming up with Daryl and the rest of the boys for the 2018 campaign.”

As for the Castleford club themselves, coach Daryl Powell is pleased to have Wardle signed for several seasons.

“Joe Wardle is a player that I have been a fan of for a number of years since his time at Huddersfield,” said Powell.

“I am delighted that on returning to England he has decided that we are the club to help him achieve his goals in the game.”

His versatility is also a key reason behind the decision to sign Wardle.

“He is a tough player on both sides of the game being a great line runner on attack and a solid aggressive defender,” continued Powell.

“He can play in both centre and back row positions which strengthens us significantly and grows our competition for places within an already awesome squad.

I look forward to his arrival at the club and getting him accustomed to how we play.”

Ricky’s NRL Interviews Pt 6: Brenton Bowen

Our interview series with former players continues with pt 6; with former North Queensland Cowboys and Gold Coast Titans utility back, Brenton Bowen.

With a synonymous surname in rugby league, a love of the game and the skill to boot, Bowen opened up on life prior to first-grade, his career and what the game means to him.

So, sit back, relax and enjoy his open, honest answers.

Q1: Your surname is synonymous in rugby league; what drew you into rugby league?

A: My earliest memory of Rugby League is when I was a kid; I remember my dad and uncles playing for the Mossman Sharks in the Cairns Local Rugby League Competition. I’d sometimes hop on the footy bus with my dad and follow him down to Cairns from Hope Vale to watch him play. When I got a bit older, I loved watching Allan Langer play for the Broncos. I was a big Broncos fan growing up because they had a lot of QLD Origin players.

Q2: With Matthew Bowen being your cousin, what were your rugby league memories growing up with him?

A: We were both very competitive. There was always a competitive rivalry between us from our time growing up at Hope Vale. Every time we played backyard footy or a game of touch footy, we would always be on opposing teams. We always wanted to outdo each other but at the same time had so much respect for each other.

Q3: Born in Cairns, you went on to play for Cairns Brothers at the junior level and then the North Queensland Cowboys; what were those experiences like and what did it mean to you to play first-grade?

A: Although I was born in Cairns, I grew up in Hope Vale near Cooktown. I did my High Schooling years at St. Teresa’s College Abergowrie (near Ingham). It wasn’t until I was 16 that I played for Cairns Brothers and we went on the win the Grand Final that year. I’d make the 3-hour trip north to play footy on the weekends.

I have some of my fondest memories playing footy alongside my school mates. None more special than winning the Confraternity Carnival in 1999 with my St. Teresa’s College schoolmates. Matty Bowen and Palmer Wapau were on the same side also. Palmer went on to play for the Brisbane Broncos.

When the Cowboys entered the NRL competition in 1995, I instantly changed teams from the Broncos to the Cowboys, haha! We had an NRL team to support in our very own backyard. To actually have the opportunity to not only play for them but to actually debut with them was a dream come true. One goal of mine was definitely ticked off.

Q4: After some success at the Cowboys, you moved to the Titans for a sole season in 2008; what prompted that move?

A: At the time, the Titans were offering me a 2-year contract whereas the Cowboys were only offering me a 12-month contract. So I thought I needed something with more stability and decided to sign with the Titans. It was a very tough decision to make to move to the Gold Coast as 2007 was a very good year for me at the Cowboys as I was playing regular first grade. I enjoyed my time at the Titans over the two years that I was there. Although I didn’t play many games down there I got to play/train along side the likes of Scotty Prince, Preston Campbell, Matt Rogers, Chris Walker, Brad Meyers, Luke Bailey etc. I only played a hand full of games in 2008 and spend the 2009 season with The Tweed Seagulls.

It was a very tough decision to make to move to the Gold Coast as 2007 was a very good year for me at the Cowboys as I was playing regular first grade. I enjoyed my time at the Titans over the two years that I was there. Although I didn’t play many games down there I got to play/train along side the likes of Scotty Prince, Preston Campbell, Matt Rogers, Chris Walker, Brad Meyers, Luke Bailey etc. I only played a hand full of games in 2008 and spend the 2009 season with The Tweed Seagulls.

Although I didn’t play many games down there, I got to play/train alongside the likes of Scotty Prince, Preston Campbell, Matt Rogers, Chris Walker, Brad Meyers, Luke Bailey etc. I only played a handful of games in 2008 and spend the 2009 season with The Tweed Seagulls.

Q5: You stayed in rugby league after that and played several seasons with the Northern Pride; did you feel as if that was a demotion or was it refreshing to continue playing at the grassroots level?

A: Yes, once my time with the Titans came to an end at the end of 2009, I made my way back to Far North Queensland to play for the Northern Pride. I felt that it was refreshing to be able to go back to grassroots level. Although, my 2-3 years there was marred by injury and later on doctors found a benign tumour on my Pituitary gland (just under the Brain).

Q6: Post-footy, do you still have an involvement within the game whether it be in a professional capacity or as a fan?

A: These days, I’m just a passionate fan of the game. I’d love to get back involved in the game as I love it and love what it gave me but my work commitments and family commitments take priority in my life now.

Q7: What is your greatest memory from your rugby league career?

A: My greatest memory from my Rugby League career would have to be my debut game; Round 3 2003 vs Manly. I came off the bench that day – Ty Williams got injured – and coach Graham Murray gave me the nod to take the field in place of Ty.

I was up against John Hopoate. After the game, he shook my hand and wished me all the best in my NRL career I thought that was pretty special. Other memories and highlights were obviously getting to play First Grade alongside my cousin Matty Bowen.

Q8: As a successful player, if you could give one piece of advice to any budding player that wants to play rugby league, what would it be?

A: The advice I would to anyone who wants to play at that level is to never give up on your dream. Billy Slater is a perfect example. I am the same age as Billy, he didn’t make many if not any of rep teams through the junior grades he’d always miss out but to his credit, he didn’t give up. Now he’s one of the best players in the world.

One that I use for budding rugby league players from the bush/communities that get homesick is that “home isn’t going anywhere,” it’s always going to be there. There are a lot of talented footy players from the bush/communities that would make it in the NRL but are afraid to move away from home. 

Raiders captain signs new deal at club

Jarrod Croker

Far and away the favourite of many Canberra Raiders fans across the country, Jarrod Croker is a name that is synonymous with consistency, breaking club records and, of course, the Raiders.

Thus, in a boost for the club and its fans moving forward, the fan favourite centre and club captain has extended his deal with the club until the end of 2020.

Already contracted for 2018, the Raiders moved quickly to ensure that Croker’s future was secured for the long-term.

A prolific scorer both in tries and goals, Croker has broken numerous club records and is on track to break more, as well as potentially going on to break NRL records given that at just 26, he has already amassed more than 200 NRL games.

Having been involved with the club for his entire career, Croker said it was an easy decision in the end as he shifts his attention to the Raiders making the finals.

“I’m a proud Raider and to re-sign at the club is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Croker said.

“We’ve got a wonderful group of players and coaches here who I believe have the talent to win a premiership and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.

“We’ve still got the opportunity to play finals footy this year which is exciting and I know the teams focused on winning the last four games of the season and playing in the finals.”

Equally pleased is the club who know how valuable Croker is to their side and the leadership skills he possesses to guide the side.

“Re-signing Jarrod was an easy decision for us as he’s an extremely valuable asset both on and off the field,” said Raiders CEO, Don Furner.

“He’s setting records at the club which may never be broken and we know he’s the right player to lead the team into the future.

As Captain, he continues to impress us with his leadership of the team and we know he commands the respect of his peers and the club’s members and supporter base.”

Manly re-sign talented local junior

Brad Parker

Fresh off the back of a solid performance in the Manly Sea Eagles win, the club has rewarded utility back Brad Parker with a new two-year deal. 

Parker, who is still eligible for the U20’s competition – the Holden Cup – has shown his promise and willingness to perform and despite an early injury setback, he impressed coach Trent Barrett with his attitude towards recovery.

Barrett praised his form in the Roosters match and believes that Parker can hold down a spot long-term.

“Brad took his opportunity well against the Roosters after being 18th man for several weeks,” said the Manly coach.

“He can handle centre and wing without any problems and his team mates have confidence in him.There is no doubt he is set for a long career at Manly where he has come through the junior representative teams into grade,”

There is no doubt he is set for a long career at Manly where he has come through the junior representative teams into first grade.”

It was an easy decision for Parker, who is just excited to sign his first senior contract with a club that he & his family grew up supporting.

“I loved cheering on the Sea Eagles with my family and friends as a kid,” said Parker.

“Jamie Lyon was my hero and to be able to train and play in a few games with him last year was awesome.

I’m stoked to be given an opportunity at such a great club.”

NRL Teams Rd 23

With the majority of the top eight now set in stone, two key battles remain in the eyes of many. Firstly, the race for eighth spot. With wins now more important than ever and the threat of dropping in or out at a moment’s notice, the pressure is on to perform? Who will shine and who will crack? Equally, the battle for the wooden spoon heats up given recent weeks. 

Without further adieu, here are the sides for Rd 23 of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLsoucby); Thursday, August 10; ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park. Kick-off: 7:50 pm.

Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Bryson Goodwin 3. Aaron Gray 4. Tyrell Fuimaono 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Zane Musgrove 11. John Sutton 12. Angus Crichton 13. Sam Burgess (C).

Interchange: 14. Robbie Farah 15. George Burgess 16. Kyle Turner 17. Cameron Murray.

Reserves: 18. Anthony Cherrington 19. Jack Gosiewski 20. David Tyrrell 21. Sitiveni Moceidreke.

Coach: Michael Maguire.

Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Brenko Lee 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Chase Stanley 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Moses Mbye 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Adam Elliott 13. David Klemmer.

Interchange: 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 16. Danny Fualalo 17. Matt Frawley.

Reserves: 19. Francis Tualau 20. Rhyse Martin 21. Asipeli Fine 23. Michael Lichaa.

Coach: Des Hasler.


Parramatta Eels v Newcastle Knights (#NRLparnew); Friday, August 11; ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park. Kick-off: 6 pm. 

Eels: 1. Bevan French 2. Semi Radradra 3. Michael Jennings 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Kirisome Auva’a 6. Corey Norman 7. Mitch Moses 8. Siosaia Vave 9. Cameron King 10. Tim Mannah (C) 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Nathan Brown.

Interchange: 14. Daniel Alvaro 15. Kenny Edwards 16. Suaia Matagi 17. Peni Terepo.

Reserves: 18. David Gower 19. Will Smith 20. Frank Pritchard 21. Josh Hoffman.

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Knights: 1. Dane Gagai 2. Ken Sio 3. Joe Wardle 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Shaun Kenny Dowall 6. Brock Lamb 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Jamie Buhrer (C) 10. Josh King 11. Sione Mata’utia (C) 12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 13. Mitch Barnett.

Interchange: 14. Danny Levi 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Sam Stone 17. Luke Yates.

Reserves: 18. Jack Cogger 19. Mickey Paea 20. Brendan Elliott 21. Chanel Mata’utia.

Coach: Nathan Brown.


Brisbane Broncos v Cronulla Sharks (#NRLbricro); Friday, August 11; Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Kick-off: 7:50 pm.

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. James Roberts 4. Tautau Moga 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Korbin Sims 9. Ben Hunt 10. Adam Blair 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Josh McGuire.

Interchange: 14. Sam Thaiday 15. Tevita Pangai Jr. 16. Jai Arrow 17. Herman Ese’ese.

Reserves: 18. Jaydn Su’A 19. Tom Opacic 20. Benji Marshall 21. Salesi Funaki.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Sharks: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Kurt Capewell 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Gerard Beale 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Fa’amanu Brown 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen (C).

Interchange: 14. Jayson Bukuya 15. Chris Heighington 16. Jeremy Latimore 17. James Segayaro.

Reserves: 18. Sam Tagataese 19. Kurt Dillon 20. Bily Magoulias 21. Jesse Ramien.

Coach: Shane Flanagan.


St George Illawarra Dragons v Gold Coast Titans (#NRLsgigld); Saturday, August 12; UOW Jubilee Oval, Wollongong. Kick-off: 3 pm.

Dragons: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Euan Aitken 4. Taane Milne 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Josh McCrone 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin.

Interchange: 14. Tariq SIms 15. Hame Sele 16. Blake Lawrie 17. Kurt Mann.

Reserves: 18. Jacob Host 19. Taane Milne 20. Jake Marketo 21. Luciano Leilua.

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Titans: 1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Anthony Don 3. Dale Copley 4. John Olive 5. Will Zillman 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ash Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James (C) 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Joe Greenwood 13. Max King.

Interchange: 14. Tyrone Roberts 15. Nathaniel Peter 16. Leivaha Pulu 17. Morgan Boyle.

Reserves: 18. Paterika Vaivai 19. Pat Politoni 20. Philip Sami 21. Keegan Hipgrave.

Coach: Neil Henry.


Melbourne Storm v Sydney Roosters (#NRLmelsyd); Saturday, August 12; AAMI Park, Melbourne. Kick-off: 5:30 pm. 

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Curtis Scott 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cam Smith (C) 10. Tim Glasby 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Joe Stimson 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Kenneath Bromwich 15. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 16. Jordan McLean 17. Slade Griffin.

Reserves: 18. Tui Kamikamica 19. Jahrome Hughes 20. Robbie Rochow 21. Brodie Croft.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Roosters: 1. Connor Watson 2. Joseph Manu 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Mitch Aubusson 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Isaac Liu.

Interchange: 14. Zane Tetevano 15. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 16. Ryan Matterson 17. Victor Radley.

Reserves: 18. Kane Evans 19. Mitch Cornish 20. Lindsay Collins 21. Chris Smith.

Coach: Trent Robinson


Penrith Panthers v North Queensland Cowboys (#NRLpennql); Saturday, August 12; Pepper Stadium, Penrith. Kick-off: 7:30 pm.

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Waqa Blake 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Tyrone May 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Peter Wallace (C) 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Corey Harawira-Naera 12. Isaah Yeo 13. Moses Leota.

Interchange: 14. Sione Katoa 15. Bryce Cartwright 16. Tim Browne 17. James Fisher-Harris.

Reserves: 18. Matt Moylan 19. Dean Whare 20. Viliame Kikau 21. Sitaleki Akauola.

Coach: Anthony Griffin.

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Javid Bowen 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Michael Morgan (C) 8. John Asiata 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Coen Hess 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Ben Hampton 15. Shaun Fensom 16. Corey Jensen 17. Sam Hoare.

Reserves: 18. Braden Uele 19. Kalyn Ponga 20. Patrick Mago 21. Shane Wright.

Coach: Paul Green.


New Zealand Warriors v Canberra Raiders (#NRLwarcan); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Sunday, August 13. Kick-off: 2 pm.

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kieran Foran 7. Mason Lino 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Nathaniel Roache 10. Ben Matulino 11. Bunty Afoa 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Simon Mannering.

Interchange: 14. Issac Luke 15. Sam Lisone 16. Isaiah Papalii 17. James Bell.

Reserves: 18. Jazz Tevaga 20. Tevita Satae 21. Ata Hingano 22. Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad.

Coach: Stephen Kearney.

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Josh Papalii 12. Joseph Tapine 13. Elliott Whitehead.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. David Taylor 16. Clay Priest 17. Luke Bateman.

Reserves: 18. Michael Oldfield 19. Jeff Lima 20. Royce Hunt 21. Erin Clark.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.


Wests Tigers v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLwstman); Leichhardt Oval; Sunday, August 13. Kick-off: 4 pm.

Tigers: 1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Esan Marsters 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods (C) 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Tim Grant 11. Chris Lawrence 12. Elijah Taylor 13. Matthew Eisenhuth.

Interchange: 14. Alex Twal 15. Sauaso Sue 16. Michael Chee-Kam 17. Jack Littlejohn.

Reserves: 18. Josh Aloiai 19. JJ Felise 20. Joel Edwards 21. Ava Seumanufagai.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.

Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Matt Wright 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brad Parker 5. Akuila Uate 6. Blake Green 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Brenton Lawrence 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Marty Taupau 11. Frank Winterstein 12. Shaun Lane 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Lewis Brown 15. Lloyd Perrett 16. Darcy Lussick 17. Addin Fonua-Blake.

Reserves: 18. Brian Kelly 19. Cameron Cullen 20. Jonathan Wright 21. Jarrad Kennedy.

Coach: Trent Barrett.


 

Persistent knee issues force Cowboys utility into early retirement

Ray Thompson

Although he will play on in the 2017 season and potentially for Papua New Guinea at this year’s World Cup, North Queensland Cowboys utility Ray Thompson has made the decision to retire.

Suffering from numerous knee issues throughout his career, the 111-gamer knows that his body is telling him that it cannot take much more and so he made the decision that 2017 would be his last.

Regarded as one of the toughest players and competitors at the Cowboys, Thompson made his NRL debut in the same year as his Holden Cup debut; 2009.

Thompson thanked the Cowboys club for everything that they have done for him for nearly a decade.

“This club has been everything to me for nearly a decade, it’s given me plenty and I’d like to think I’ve given back to it as well,” Thompson said.

“I’ve got nothing but great memories of my time playing here and to take the field with these blokes has been a true privilege.

“I’ve battled through some injuries throughout my career, so now was the right time to call curtains, but rest assured I’ll be giving it my all for the rest of the season.”

A true clubman, Thompson received praise from Cowboys General Manager of Football Peter Parr who was full of wraps of all sorts for the livewire utility.

“Earlier in the year, Paul Green said Ray was ‘as tough as a two-dollar steak’ after he played against the Knights,” Parr said.

“That’s been the story of his entire career, and while he’s had his challenges on the injury front, he’s never blinked at getting back on to the field. ”

He will not be lost to the game or to the Cowboys club when his playing career finishes up either.

Thompson will work with the club’s community team as an engagement and promotions officer alongside former Cowboy Matt Bowen.

 

Titans favourite son returns home on 2-year deal

Brenton Lawrence

His first stint with the Gold Coast Titans might have been a short one but in that time, Brenton Lawrence gained the respect and following of the Titans fanbase. 

Fast forward to the 2018 season and the favourite son will rejoin the club on a 2-year deal.

With the need for forwards ahead of some likely front-row departures, Lawrence’s experience and track record as a hard-running forward will serve the Titans side well over the next couple of years.

With 98 NRL games to date – 80 of which have come with current club, the Manly Sea Eagles – Lawrence felt like the time was right to make a return home.

“The Titans is where I started my NRL journey and after five great years at Manly I felt it was the right time to return home,” Lawrence said.

“After speaking to Neil and understanding the Titans’ future plans, I am excited to be joining the club again.”

Despite being 32, Lawrence seems to be performing better with age and that experience and a strong level of performance had Titans coach Neil Henry convinced that the move was the right one to make.

“Brenton is a consistent performer at NRL level and someone who looks to be getting better with age,” Henry said.  “He is the type of player that you know exactly what you are going to get from him and he will be a leader in the middle for us.”

“Brenton is a great clubman and extremely community minded. It will be good to see him back here on the Gold Coast,” Henry added.

Broncos utility back signs new deal with club

Jordan Kahu

Always looking to maintain their current side, the Brisbane Broncos have shored up another one of their existing players with Jordan Kahu re-signing for a further three seasons.

The Kiwi international is excited to stay at Red Hill and knows it was the best decision for both he and his family.

“It has been a long process and a tough process,” he said.

“But it was something I had to take my time with and make a decision that was best for my family and my career as well.

“It is a positive thing and I am happy to be here for another few years.”

Kahu will play for the Broncos in tonight’s fixture against the Titans.

Eels momentum continues as they record a sixth straight win

Daniel Alvaro

In the eyes of most, the Parramatta Eels already have a finals spot sewn up but you can always look to be better and play at the same level consistently, particularly at the back end of a season.

That is exactly what the Eels have done as they produced a relatively convincing display against a Bulldogs side criticised repeatedly for a lack of attacking options.

The Eels ran out 20-4 winners at ANZ Stadium, in the end, to strengthen their spot in the eight and improve their for and against in the process.

The win puts the Eels in the top four temporarily but it did come at a potential cost, with the extent of a hamstring injury to fullback Bevan French still unknown.

In the end, it was the class and experience of the Eels halves that made the difference as the Bulldogs lethargic attack led to almost double the number of errors as the Eels.

The decision by Des Hasler to play Chase Stanley at five-eighth pre-game was not one that worked out for him nor the side, as they slumped to yet another defeat.

The first try of the game came via an unlikely source in Eels prop Daniel Alvaro, who hit the line and used nothing but determination and leg drive to bustle his way over the line.

The Mitch Moses masterclass then took over as the live-wire first broke the line himself, finding Bevan French on the inside to score.

That was followed by a momentum of sheer composure and calmness, as he shifted from right to left, floated a pass to centre Brad Takairangi before he found Semi Radradra to score out wide.

The Bulldogs would pull back a try of their own in the second half with Brenko Lee making a surge down the right side before finding winger Marcelo Montoya to score.

That would be the only attacking highlight for the Bulldogs, however, and from there, the game became dour as the Eels took their foot off the pedal and the Bulldogs failed to produce any attacking threat.

Although the game was by no means a spectacle due to the downpour throughout the contest, Eels coach Brad Arthur said the kicking game and composure were the two elements they worked on.

“All we worked on all week was just kicking, chasing the ball and making our tackles” said the Eels coach.

“I thought the boys did a really good job of that.

“The completion and attention to detail was probably a bit better than I thought so it was a good effort.”

Eels captain Tim Mannah brings up a milestone next game with his 200th game with Arthur hopeful his side can once again lift for that clash to mark the occasion.

“It’s Tim’s 200th next week so if we can’t find a reason to play next week, we’re in trouble,” continued Arthur post-game.

Bulldogs coach Des Hasler lamented his side’s poor showing in the first half that allowed the Eels to run away as they did.

“You’d have to say that we made it pretty easy for them in the first half,” said Hasler.

“For those conditions, we were just unbelievably undisciplined with the ball.

“They kicked well and I think it was about 70-30 possession but at this level you can control that and we just didn’t do it.”

Player of the Game:

3. Daniel Alvaro

2. Mitch Moses

  1. Siosaia Vave

 

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