On a warm and humid night in Sydney’s West, where the mercury tipped 38 degrees, both teams started with near full-strength sides, in front of a crowd of 12,761 at Campbelltown Stadium.
With both teams looking to make headway early, it was the Eels who were the quickest to react, scoring three tries in the first 20 minutes, leaving the Tigers side dazzled.
The players with monkeys on their backs, namely the Eels halves in Daniel Mortimer and Jeff Robson both had strong games, with Robson scoring, and setting up a try, and Mortimer having a hand in a few of the Eels tries.
Perhaps the key man however, and possibly the missing piece to the Eels hooker department, was the performance of veteran Casey McGuire, who scored for the club he made his debut for.
Another man who will be looking to solidify his spot as one of of the game’s premier halfbacks is Jarryd Hayne, and he took a step towards that with a great try courtesy of some quick footwork that caught Andrew Fifita and Benji Marshall off guard.
The Tigers did manage to get on the scoreboard through Lote Tuqiri, after a great pass from Benji, but the highlight of the game belonged to Nathan Hindmarsh.
The second-rower, known primarily for his defensive efforts, intercepted a wayward Robert Lui pass and ran 85 metres down the field, fending off several players in doing so, before offloading to Justin Horo, who scored two tries.
For Eels coach Stephen Kearney, whilst he was pleased with the result, the key for him was to ensure that the players suffered no injuries, as well as getting and maintaining the players high levels of fitness.
“It was an improvement on last week and on a couple of areas we identified last week that we felt we needed to improve on,” Kearney said.
“I thought we did alright tonight, we were better with the footy tonight, and a lot more composed, which helped us.
“The conditions tested our fitness tonight, we didn’t come away with anything more than bumps and bruises, but I thought overall it was good hit-out.”
Tigers skipper Robbie Farah dismissed the result as important, and played down any dominance shown by the Eels.
“We didn’t start well, but I am not going to start saying Parra or any other team are going to win the comp, they beat us in a trial,” he said.