With the Titans leading 18-16, and the Eels having one last set to score, the 6th tackle arrived. As the ball came to five-eighth Daniel Mortimer, he put the ball into the air under pressure from the Titans players, and after the ball was batted back, Shane ‘The Love Shack’ Shackleton, was the first to react.
The try was Shackleton’s first for the Eels, after he suffered a terrible injury in his debut game for the club last year, when he tore his hamstring off the bone.
He has a staunch and vocal supporter in Nathan Hindmarsh, who said that Shack’s injury is one of the worst he has seen, and gave credit to Shane for his terrific comeback.
“It’s the hardest I’ve seen someone work coming back from an injury like that,” Hindmarsh said.
“By himself, day in, day out just doing what he needed to do to get on the field and I haven’t seen someone that dedicated for a long, long time to get back on the field.”
As the Titans led the game throughout, an Eels side without the suspended Jarryd Hayne never gave in, and it paid dividends for the Eels, as they were rewarded for their never-say-die attitude.
“I think I scored in ’09 against North Queensland,” Shackleton said. “I’m probably averaging about 1.5 a year, actually probably less.”
The red-headed former Rooster agreed with his skipper’s assessment that the comeback had been tough going.
“You had ups and downs,” he said.
“I improved a lot in the early weeks so I felt good about that.
“Then you have your dark weeks where you’re sort of plateauing a bit.
“It’s still a work in progress, I’m not exactly where I want to be yet.”
With the odds and momentum in the Titans favour, it was a penalty against Bodene Thompson, and a brain explosion from Mark Minichello, that changed things around, and suddenly, it was the Eels with all of the momentum.
For Titans coach John Cartwright, he was not pleased that his side failed to close out the match when they had the chance.
“A hundred times over,” he said. “And full credit to Parramatta, they kept coming and they kept themselves in the game but that was inept from us.”
“We just shouldn’t have been in those positions.”
Dally M Points
3 Fui Fui Moi Moi
2 Shane Shackleton
1 Daniel Mortimer