Heading into the game, the Eels were looking for a win to move further away from the wooden spoon and that is exactly what they did, as they recorded a nail-biting win over the Brisbane Broncos 19-18 at Parramatta Stadium.
In front of a vocal crowd of just over 11,000, the Eels started the game like a steam train, scoring two tries early on, including a brilliant try by Luke Kelly, after Jacob Loko’s deft kick, chase and re-gather led to a try for the Eels five-eighth.
It was not all one way traffic, however, as the Broncos forced their way back into the contest on the back of some penalties, with the difference between the two sides being an innocuous field goal by Jarryd Hayne on the half-time siren.
For Eels coach Ricky Stuart, he knows it was a grinding game and a tough game but the sort of game his side has to win moving forward, which they did.
“It was a very, very tough game,” said Stuart.
“Physically was strong and it got to a bit of a war there and we had to show a fair bit of attitude and I thought that’s why we won the game.
“Because we had a healthy attitude and the right desire, something that I thought we had the last two weeks – so take the results away and I’ve been really proud of the effort.
When asked about his field goal, captain Jarryd Hayne felt like it was the best option at the time and it proved to be the difference between the two sides.
“It was the best option,” said Hayne.
“We could have tried to go for the try which a couple of the boys were expecting, but as soon as we got the penalty in our half, I just knew the field goal was the best option.”
“It ended up being the key to winning the game.”
Broncos coach Anthony Griffin put it simply – errors cost them and they just could not get on top in the game and it cost them.
“It was just one of those games that we were never on top,” said Griffin.
“We didn’t have the attitude to get ourselves on top until it was too late.”
“We did have some injuries but we had a team out there that should have still been strong enough.”
3. Jarryd Hayne
2. Chris Sandow
1. Matt Keating