It was not the most attractive game of rugby league by any means but sometimes, winning in a gritty, determined fashion is the way to go, as the Parramatta Eels continued their winning ways with a win over the Manly Sea Eagles.
Playing at Brookvale Oval, a venue that is never easy to win at for an away side, Manly’s intensity gave them the advantage early on as the game turned into a hard-fought, steely contest.
The win gives the Eels a share of the competition lead, after their defence shone through yet again, keeping the Manly players at bay for long periods.
Despite that, there were periods of the game that saw Manly applying all the pressure and controlling the game itself. Ultimately, they could not capitalise.
There were injury concerns for both teams in the tough contest with Tepai Moeroa (shin) and Junior Paulo (concussion) facing a nervous wait for the Eels.
For Manly, winger Jorge Taufua may have suffered a collarbone injury which will test their depth even more.
Several tries for both sides were disallowed, with uproar by many fans over the decisions to give them no-try.
Although it did not affect the outcome in the end, Eels fans perhaps had the toughest one go against them, an offside call against Brad Takairangi despite replays suggesting he was onside.
The physicality of the contest wore out both sides and it became a battle of which team is fitter towards the back end of the game.
That team was the Eels, as the Manly forwards and players began to tire, with the Eels taking full advantage
Michael Jennings scored a double late on and sealed the Eels win in 22-10 win, giving the Eels their fifth win from seven games.
The big talking point post-game was the no-try decisions and whilst he knows the rule is black and white, Eels coach Brad Arthur had question marks over the calls.
“Semi did run behind him. That’s the rule but I don’t think the defender was impeded but if it’s black and white he did run behind him,” Arthur said.
With a huge emphasis on defence at the Eels this year, Arthur praised the efforts of his side and their resolve.
“It was a very mentally tough effort. Our effort for seven weeks now has been very good but I thought they probably played with a bit more energy and out enthused us. They came at us hard, carried the ball harder and got off their line harder than us.
“We just hung in thereâ€¦ There’s a bit of confidence at the moment among the boys defending their try line. Four of five sets again on our try line they just kept turning up for each other. So while our effort was good we didn’t have the energy at times when we probably needed to.”
Despite their intensity and pressure, the errors ended up costing the Manly side and coach Trent Barrett lamented those missed opportunities.
“There’s 18 points [we could have saved], you just can’t do that,” Barrett said.
“We were in the position to stop them which is encouraging and we’re defending quite well. There were a couple of little things on our edges but they’re easily fixed.
We were right in the contest, when we click we can turn those score-lines favourably in our way and I don’t think that’s too far away but we’ve got a little bit of work to do It’s still only early but it’s something we need to sort out,” he added.
Player of the Game:
3. Semi Radradra
2. Tom Trbojevic
1. Brad Takairangi
Parramatta Eels 22 (Jennings 2; Takairangi, Radradra tries; Gordon 3 goals) def Manly Sea Eagles 10 (Lyon try; Lyon 3 goals) at Brookvale Oval. Half-time: 8-all. Crowd: 14,633.