The Parramatta Eels tonight proved tipsters right, and ran away with the Monday Night NRL match against the Warriors by 24 points. The Eels survived the early arm wrestle and overcame a close half time scoreline of 12-6 to race away with the game and give the Warriors plenty of headaches at the same time.
Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei had one of the worst games any single player could have. The unlucky Kiwi winger simply dropped every ball that came his way, after his hands failed him early on – the Parramatta kickers targetted him all night and reaped the rewards time after time. The only positive for the Kiwi winger was an incorrect call by video referee Bill Harrigan who wrongly awarded a penalty to the Warriors for an alleged strip on Vatuvei that led to a Ben Smith try. Judging by the replays and Vetuvei’s handling – it was a blatent drop and Billy boy got it wrong.
The expected forward battle never eventuated with Warriors prop and noted hardman Ruben Wiki getting slightly over 40 minutes game time and less than 50 metres gained all night. While fellow prop Steve Price tried hard all night – the Eels front men hit the advantage line hard and simply blew the Warriors away with steam rolling runs. Obviously this made it much easier for small men such as Brett Finch and Tim Smith to kick for field position and play the smart way for the Eels.
Daniel Wagon for the Eels had an outstanding night, constantly threatening in attack with his kamakazi runs at the fringe – he seemed to be extremely enthusiastic for the Eels and this resulted in spoils for the veteran with an explosive try in the 47th minute – running on to a Tim Smith grubber at speed the Wagon touchdown was a good one in traffic.
Timana Tahu lasted only 40 minutes for the Eels after again hurting his hamstring. The injured centre will be disappointed by the latest setback after setting up a nice Hayne try tonight and being dangerous in attack and defence for the Eels. Kristian Inu will gladly and capably take the Tahu jersey for their clash with the Wests Tigers next Monday Night at Telstra Stadium.
The Warriors walk away from Parramatta Stadium with Manu Vatuvei staring at the crossroads of his career, with the bukly winger surely to be sacked after this latest nightmare and halfback Michael Witt who tonight failed to make an impact and was cannon fodder for his old teammates. Ivan Cleary was clearly the dejected man at the press conference and failed to highlight his areas of concern. As the Warriors try to play a structued and safety first game, it’s taking away the impact of their once feared forwards and things are going from bad to worse after such a good start the NRL 2007 season.
The Eels move into 6th position on the NRL 2007 table and we now have 4 teams anchoring the points table on 8 points.
Be sure and check our updated NRL Ladder today and check back tomorrow for our Tuesday review and report from ‘The Grubber!’ our newest NRL Rugby League Expert.
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