Eels hang on in thriller at Eden Park

Many Eels fans were holding their breath, hoping and praying that their side could get off to the perfect start in Rd 1 under new coach Stephen Kearney, and their wish came true.

The Eels, who dominated the match for about 60 minutes were clinical with their finishing, outlined by their completion rate, which hovered around a staggering 90%, which is almost unheard of in the NRL these days.

Going into the match as underdogs, a tag which may help the Eels during the year, Kearney’s era as Eels coach got off to the best start possible, with his forwards laying the platform for the rest of the game.

The four pronged prop rotation worked brilliantly, with debut prop Mitchell Allgood, Tim Mannah, Shane Shackleton and Fui Fui Moi Moi all doing their job.

The Eels, who played a much more organised and methodical game then in seasons past, simply held onto the ball when they had to, and that possession is what won them the game.

“I thought the lads’ performance for a good 60 minutes was very good,” Kearney said.

“It was a tough game but I wasn’t expecting anything less from the Warriors, playing in front of a big crowd on home soil.

“They were never going to go away. It is always nice to get the reward but I was very pleased with the performance tonight.”

There were some controversial calls, but in the NRL, we have come to expect those, and they came at inconvenient times for the Warriors.

Perhaps a bigger blow than the loss however, is the news that Manu ‘The Beast’ Vatuvei faces possibly 6-8 weeks on the sideline, after he tore his medial ligaments.

The Warriors will await scans on Sunday, and are hopeful that the injury is not too serious.

“We will have to wait until we get the scans tomorrow but it is a serious knee injury,” Cleary said.

“We are hoping it is a medial ligament tear rather than something more serious.

“Whatever happens, he is going to be out for a while.”

This was perhaps the beginning of the end, despite the Warriors final stand, and Lance Hohaia and young gun Glen Fisiiahi perhaps had games to forget, with both dropping several bombs that led to Eels points.

“I must say, it wasn’t something we had planned,” Kearney said of the barrage of high balls.

“Jarryd (Hayne) has a pretty big strike on him and after the first one we thought we’d try another one.

“Another night they might catch them.”

Luke Burt, Eels winger, also surpassed 1500 career points, and in scoring two tries, he needs just one more try to equal the Eels try-scoring record, currently held by legend Eels player, Brett Kenny.

Dally M Points

3 Luke Burt
2 Mitchell Allgood
1 Jarryd Hayne


Tries: Luke Burt (2), Jarryd Hayne, Jeff Robson
Conversions: Luke Burt (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Luke Burt (1/1)

Tries: Jerome Ropati (2), Lewis Brown
Conversions: James Maloney (3/3)

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