Michael Hagan and the Parramatta Eels said in the press conference tonight; they would like to play the Wests Tigers every week in the NRL and after a 40-12 hammering at Parramatta Stadium tonight it’s easy to see why.
The Eels launched an all out assault on the back of plenty of possession, rarely letting the Wests Tigers come up for air and scoring at every opportunity.
The win keeps very slim finals hopes alive for the Eels and the Tigers will rue a missed opportunity to sneak up the NRL Ladder after NRL results went their way to some extent on the weekend.
Parramatta played a physical style and their muscle caused the Tigers to panic and fumble their way through both halves of the game, the possession statistic ending up a horrendous 65% to 35% against the visitors.
Not only do the Wests Tigers miss their shot at climbing the NRL ladder, their mental state cops a big hiding only a few days before they need to back up against a hurting Manly Sea Eagles outfit hell bent on correcting their own misfiring against the Bunnies.
The Eels now sneak up to 24 competition points, their points difference also handed a nice piggy back after a high scoring affair, the win against the Wests Tigers the 8th in succession for the Eels – the Tigers not beating the Parramatta side since 2004.
With 3 matches remaining, the log jam on the NRL Ladder means that both sides probably need to win their 3 remaining NRL matches to have any chance of a lower order Top 8 finals spot.
It was a glimpse of what the Eels can do on their night, the home side putting on 7 tries to the Tigers 2 and while their attack was at it’s fleeting best, coach Michael Hagan would have been just as impressed with the muscle and commitment in defence.
The only downside for the locals, prominent playmaker Feleti Mateo walking away with what seems to be a cork to his troublesome knee and in-form centre Joel Reddy leaving the field during the first half with a hamstring complaint.
The match was in the Eels keeping from early on, Wests Tigers outside back Beau Ryan spilling a ball in his own red zone to give the Eels first shot at the Tigers try line.
A rampaging Taulima Tautai grabbed the opportunity to get the Eels on the scoreboard first and secure a confidence boost early on.
It was almost a carbon copy for Parramatta, when soon after – Chris Lawrence spilled it again for the Tigers, the turned over possession allowing a hard running Fuifui Moimoi to barge over from close range – Tigers pivot Benji Marshall no chance of stopping the bullocking bigman.
The Tigers were starting to panic, their poor record against the Eels may have been a factor – discipline going out the window and 3 consecutive penalties eventually resulting in a Krisnan Inu penalty goal before half Brett Finch sent up a towering bomb which bounced well for the hard working Nathan Hindmarsh to duck over and score to get the Eels well on their way.
A sign the Tigers might eventually get some luck came minutes from half time, against the run of play – an Eels attacking bomb blew 20m backwards and Benji Marshall swooped. The attacking Tigers pivot showed good speed to score from a 70m run and get the Tigers within 16 points on the half time hooter.
After the break, the Tigers showed signs they could climb Mt Everest, when crafty half Robbie Farah chipped high from dummy half only 2m out from the Eels line to gift Chris Heighington a real opportunists try, but the Tigers again threw in the towel with Taniela Tuiaki spilling the kick-off only seconds after the try restart.
The Eels remained in an attacking mood despite the rain and attempted Tigers comeback, custodian Jarryd Hayne wrestling 4 Tigers defenders on their line to burrow under and score a benefit of the doubt try, that try ruining any chance Tim Sheens’ men had of a miraculous comeback with backrower Mateo snaring a short ball from Matt Keating to touchdown under the posts before Hayne again went over to score only 5 minutes from time.
Tigers prop Bryce Gibbs was also placed on report after collected Inu with a forearm late in the contest.
The Eels face the out of sorts Bulldogs next week and will look to build on their improved late run as the Wests Tigers do some soul searching before facing the Manly Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium.