Trailing 10-6 for most of the second half, a late try and a Trent Barrett field goal with 4 minutes left gave Ricky Stuart’s squad their 1st win since Round 1 of the 2009 NRL.
A dedicated but small crowd of just over 7,000 braved the conditions and possibly the most boring football of the year as the sides ran one out for near 75 minutes of this match.
Touchdowns to Luke Burt and Joel Reddy had given the Eels a 10-6 lead at half-time with high flying Shark Covell going over for a try from a high kick, but when Mitch Brown crossed in the 69th-minute, the visitors remained calm at the death as Parramatta were made to pay for poor kicking and silly handling errors late in the piece. The Eels remained on the bad side of referee Ben Cummins, the whistle blower hammering the home side when he was in control of the ruck.
Ricky Stuart was elated to finally get a victory and heaped praise on his rookie halfback Scott Porter who was thrown in at the deep end. Porter remained calm and took good options when he had to.
The Eels too were well served by young debut half Daniel Mortimer and new half Jeff Robson had his best game yet for the Eels. The home side while not at their best, did enough to win this game and coach Anderson was furious with what he saw as ‘un-intelligent football’ in the final 10 minutes.
The Sharks took their chances, veteran pivot Trent Barrett only needed one shot at the field goal, snapping the one pointer from a wobbly shot from 20 metres out.Â Barrett was only involved in patches tonight, at times playing on the edge with an injury seemingly troubling him.
Covell was busy and troubled the Eels whenever he lept for attacking kicks in their red zone. For the Eels, they badly missed Jarryd Hayne in attack and struggled in the back end with workhorse Nathan Hindmarsh injured mid-way through the match.