NRL Round 14 Sunday Summary

Eels beat Dragons in an ugly one
Eels 20 def Dragons 12

The Eels accounted for the Dragons today at Parramatta Stadium after enduring a dour affair where both sides looked like Jim Beam Cup outfits battling for victory at a suburban park.

The Eels poor record in day games looked set to continue with limited possession early and a severe lack of focus during the first 3/4 of the match. Entering half time at 2-0 it was certainly a low scoring affair – and when the Dragons scored midway through the second half it looked like it might be enough to take the match.

However, a late surge from the Eels on the back of spirit from some tough Mark Riddell charges and an impressive match from young forward Josh Cordoba – enabled the home side to skip away from the Dragons by a safe buffer.

Its hard to say a lot of nice things about either side, with both guilty of bombing certain tries and taking poor options at crucial stages. The kicking game from both halves was average and the frustration nearly boiled over – with players coming together for several melees.

The Dragons can take heart in the fact that Jason Ryles completed a full game without injury and any major errors – hopefully the big forward can gain back the confidence that previously made him one of the best forwards in the country. Richie Rich played well again for the Dragons, and complemented Soward well – the combination looks to have a future if the forwards can lay better platforms.

The Eels looked to be carrying some minor injuries with Brett Finch and Eric Grothe hobbling at times and just doing enough to get by, the Eels also lost workhorse Daniel Wagon prior to kickoff with the veteran having a bad case of the flu. The Eels do miss the roving utility as he plays a good sweeping role in defence and is very settled in attack – allowing the Eels to get the most out of their set plays.

The Eels now move back into the top 4 and have 16 points with a bye still in hand. The Dragons remain alone on the foot of the ladder – with only 10 points for the year.

Titans tough it out, to pip Tigers
Gold Coast Titans 16 def Wests Tigers 14

The Wests Tigers were upset over at Campbelltown Stadium with the Gold Coast Titans just doing enough to take the points in a topsy turvey affair.

Ironically it was the return of Scott Prince and Anthony Laffranchi to Tiger town that caused the upset win. Prince was at his scheming best, and when he put on his trademark show and go 5 times across field to setup a Titans try – it was an old Tiger move that came back to burn them. Laffranchi was a workhorse up front, getting through a tonne of tackles and giving the Tigers forwards headaches all day.

The Tigers were looking good in the first period but seemed to go flat in the latter half of the game. Matt Rogers did his bit, with a double swag of tries to the visitors and in the end, the 16 point haul was just enough.

The Tigers attacked hard in the final 10 to close the 6 point gap, scoring a try through brutal winger – Taniela Tuiaki. Tuiaki is an awesome sight in full stride, Matt Rogers must have had nightmares as the big, strong winger charged at him to score in the final 10 minutes. There was no way anyone could have stopped the big unit from 10 metres out.

The Tigers then threw in Shannon O’Donnell to take the kick at goal, opting not to use sharp shooter Dean Collis. Collis had missed some earlier shots, but previously his 100% record showed he had the credentials to make the kick. The move proved to be the wrong one, with O’Donnell missing from the sideline – leaving the Tigers 2 points adrift.

It was the one that got away for Wests, they remain on 16 points and the Titans now move to the same amount. The NRL Points Ladder table now hosting a few teams on 16, Eels, Cowboys, Tigers, Titans. The winner of tomorrow nights match Canberra or Newcastle will also join the brigade on 16.

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