Just like it was for NSW State of Origin, it was the Jarryd Hayne show for the Parramatta Eels. At times, it looked like Jarryd Hayne versus the Brisbane Broncos, such was the impact of the flashy fullback as the Eels managed to get home 21-14 on the back of a Luke Burt field goal and Daniel Mortimer try in the final 2 minutes.
The Broncos were without the services of Israel Folau and Justin Hodges, but while they lacked punch on the fringe it seemed the Eels were giving them every chance to score – with some soft defence near the try line.
Parramatta took advantage of early possession, scoring a handy try from a Joel Reddy offload to find Eric Grothe and were again successful down that side as Grothe returned the favour and offloaded for Reddy to score.
When the Broncos got their chance in the attacking zone, they didn’t waste it – a successful 2nd man play setting up Steve Michaels on the wing and getting the Brisbane side into the game. With several new faces for Brisbane, you could see the confidence lift after the Michaels try.
With the scores 8-4 to the Eels at the break, the early confidence was key in the 2nd term and just as the Broncos looked set to score with a 3-2 overlap, Kris Inu intercepted and ran the length of the field to score for the Eels and nudge them ahead.
But the Broncos weren’t going away, a try right up the middle to Andrew McCullough exposed more poor Parramatta defence and when Michaels skipped over for his second try it was again a locked scoreline. Corey Parker proving unsuccessful with the boot at the key moment.
In the final period, the Brisbane side looked exhausted, but the Eels just couldn’t find the killer blow. Jarryd Hayne line breaking several times to be pulled down metres short, then Fui Fui Moi Moi breaking the line and failing to offload to an unmarked man.
But in the final minutes it was a wobbly field goal from Luke Burt under pressure that got the home side the breathing space. The short restart from Brisbane missing it’s mark and allowing Mortimer to score in the final play of the game.
Brisbane now slump to 4 losses on the trot and the Eels will be ruing their missed chances in other games as they get a slight sniff of the Top 8.