Eels legend takes over Wentworthville coaching reigns

Nathan Cayless

Personal health issues have forced a change in the coaching ranks at the Parramatta Eels, with club legend Nathan Cayless named as the new coach of the Wentworthville Magpies.

Current coach Joey Grima has been forced to step aside due to personal health issues with Cayless to assume the role for the remainder of the season.

Cayless is no stranger to coaching, having been an assistant coach in 2014, Holden Cup assistant coach in 2015 and the SG Ball coach in 2016.

The contributions of Grima have not gone unnoticed, with Parramatta Eels coach Brad Arthur giving praise to both gentlemen.

“Joey works closely with the NRL and NYC coaching staff as a Development Coach as well as being the Wentworthville Magpies coach, and he brings so much to the club as a person and as a coach,” Arthur said.

“He was disappointed to have to step aside, which is typical of his dedication.”

“Nathan is obviously a household name, but he’s also showed great instincts for the job and we’re grateful to have a coach of his calibre within the club to step in.”

NRL Teams Rd 13

It was an interesting shortened weeks of football with some teams keeping finals hopes alive, hard-fought games and easy wins. With most teams now playing again for this week at least, the heat is on to perform with the Origin series kick-starting. Just who will back up for their club teams from Origin this weekend?

Canberra Raiders v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLcanman); GIO Stadium, Canberra; Friday June 3. Kick-off: 7:50pm.

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Brenko Lee 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Shannon Boyd 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Joe Tapine 11. Josh Papalii 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Luke Bateman.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Sia Soliola 16. Clay Priest 17. Paul Vaughan 19. Junior Paulo (pending NRL registration) (One to be omitted).

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Manly: 1. Brett Stewart 2. Brayden Wiliame 3. Dylan Walker 4. Steve Matai 5. Tom Trbojevic 6. Jamie Lyon (C) 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Darcy Lussick 9. Matt Parcell 10. Nate Myles 11. Lewis Brown 12. Jamie Buhrer 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Api Koroisau 15. Josh Starling 16. Brenton Lawrence 17. Siosaia Vave 18. Blake Leary (One to be omitted).

Coach: Trent Barrett.

New Zealand Warriors v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLwarbri); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Saturday June 4. Kick-off: 3pm.

Warriors: 1. Tuimoala Lolohea 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Solomone Kata 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Thomas Leuluai 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Issac Luke 10. Ben Matulino 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman (C) 13. Shaun Mannering.

Interchange: 14. Nathaniel Roache 15. Sam Lisone 16. Albert Vete 17. Charlie Gubb 18. Ligi Sao (One to be omitted).

Coach: Andrew McFadden.

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Lachlan Maranta 3. Jack Reed 4. James Roberts 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Travis Waddell 10. Adam Blair 11. Alex Glenn 12. Sam Thaiday 13. Corey Parker.

Interchange: 14. Jarrod Wallace 15. Tevita Pangai Jr. 16. Joe Ofahengaue 17. Kodi Nikorima 18. Herman Ese’ese 19. Jai Arrow (Two to be omitted).

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

North Queensland Cowboys v Newcastle Knights (#NRLnqlnew); 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville; Saturday June 4. Kick-off: 5:30pm.

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Nell 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Michael Morgan 7. Johnathan Thurston (C) 8. Matt Scott 9. Jake Granville 10. James Tamou 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Rory Kostjaysn 15. Pat Kaufusi 16. Scott Bolton 17. Ben Hannant 18. John Asiata (One to be omitted).

Coach: Paul Green.

Knights: 1. Dane Gagai 2. Cory Denniss 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Nathan Ross 5. Jake Mamo 6. Jaelen Feeney 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Sam Mataora 9. Danny Levi 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tariq Sims 12. Pauli Pauli 13. Jeremy Smith (C).

Interchange: 14. Tyler Randell 15. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 16. Josh King 17. Mickey Paea 20. David Bhana 23. Pat Mata’utia.

Coach: Nathan Brown.

Melbourne Storm v Penrith Panthers (#NRLmelpen); AAMI Park, Melbourne; Saturday June 4. Kick-off: 7:30pm.

Storm: 1. Cam Munster 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Cheyse Blair 4. Ryan Morgan 5. Marika Koroibete 6. Blake Green 7. Tohu Harris 8. Jesse Bromwich (C) 9. Kenny Bromwich 10. Jordan McLean 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Tim Glasby 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 15. Felise Kaufusi 16. Christian Welch 17. Young Tonumaipea 19. Dean Britt (One to be omitted).

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Panthers: 1. Matt Moylan (C) 2. Josh Mansour 3. Waqa Blake 4. Isaah Yeo 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Tyrone Peachey 7. Jamie Soward 8. Sam McKendry 9. Peter Wallace 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Bryce Cartwright 12. Trent Merrin 13. Leilani Latu.

Interchange: 14. Suaia Matagi 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Chris Grevsmuhl 17. Sitaleki Akuaola 20. Moses Leota.

Coach: Anthony Griffin.

Sydney Roosters v Wests Tigers (#NRLsydwst); Allianz Stadium, Moore Park; Sunday June 5. Kick-off: 4pm.

Roosters: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Mitch Aubusson 4. Dale Copley 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Ryan Matterson 7. Mitch Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Sio Siua Taukeiaho.

Interchange: 14. Issac Liu 15. Sam Moa 16. Kane Evans 17. Connor Watson 18. Eloni Vunakece (One to be omitted).

Coach: Trent Robinson.

Tigers: 1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Tim Simona 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Josh Addo-Carr6. Mitch Moses 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Robbie Farah 10. Ava Seumanufagai 11. Josh Aloiai 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Elijah Taylor.

Interchange: 14. Sauaso Sue 15. Matt Ballin 16. Tim Grant 17. Dene Halatau 18. Kyle Lovett 19. JJ Felise (Two to be omitted).

Coach: Jason Taylor.

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Gold Coast Titans (#NRLsougld); niB Stadium, Perth; Sunday June 5. Kick-off: 6:30pm (AEDT).

Rabbitohs: 1. Cody Walker 2. Alex Johnston 3. Kirisome Auva’a 4. Dane Nielsen 5. Aaron Gray 6. Greg Inglis (C) 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Cam McInnes 10. Nathan Brown 11. Paul Carter 12. Kyle Turner 13. Sam Burgess.

Interchange: 14. Luke Keary 15. Jason Clark 16. Jack Gosiewski 17. Dave Tyrrell.

Coach: Michael Maguire

Titans: 1. Will Zillman 2. Anthony Don 3. Josh Hoffman 4. Nathan Davis 5. Nene Macdonald 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ash Taylor 8. David Shillington 9. Nathan Friend (C) 10. Ryan James 11. Zeb Taia 12. Chris McQueen 13. Greg Bird.

Interchange: 14. Nathan Peats 15. Leivaha Pulu 16. Agnatius Paasi 17. Luke Douglas 18. Konrad Hurrell (One to be omitted).

Coach: Neil Henry.

Canterbury Bulldogs v Cronulla Sharks (#NRLcbycro); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Monday June 6. Kick-off: 7pm.

Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Curtis Rona 3. Josh Morris 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Sam Perrett 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Moses Mbye 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham (C) 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. David Klemmer.

Interchange: 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Adam Elliott 16. Tim Browne 17. Craig Garvey.

Coach: Des Hasler.

Sharks: 1. Ben Barba 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jack Bird 4. Gerard Beale 5. Val Holmes 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Michael Ennis 10. Sam Tagataese 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen.

Interchange: 14. Ricky Leutele 15. Chris Heighington 16. Jayson Bukuya 17. Joseph Paulo.

Coach: Shane Flanagan.

A Sims’ brother opts for a return home and signs with the Dragons

Tariq Sims

The lure of returning home and playing back in his junior area proved too much of a drawcard to overlook, with Tariq Sims to depart the Newcastle Knights and sign with the St George Illawarra Dragons from the 2017 season.

The Knights, who will now look to other options in the back-row from 2017, released a short statement on the matter.

“Newcastle Knights forward Tariq Sims has announced he will link with the St George Illawarra Dragons on a three-year deal from season 2017.

“Tariq had an option to extend his current contract for a further season into 2017 but opted to secure his future with a longer term deal elsewhere,” CEO Matt Gidley said.”

The personal terms agreed with Sims and the Dragons will see him join them on a three-year deal until the completion of the 2019 season.

To date, Sims has played in 97 NRL games and represented the Fijian national side on five occasions in his career.

Sims will link up with the Dragons at the completion of the active season in November.

Storm sign talented Fijian forward

Tui Kamikamica

He came close to a taste of what first-grade action may have been like in the past but that did not materialise. For Tui Kamikamica, he will have another chance to work hard for first-grade, after signing with the Melbourne Storm until the end of the 2018 season.

Tui, whose full name is Erevonu, had a brief stint with the Parramatta Eels a few years ago in their Holden Cup system and for their feeder team, the Wentworthville Magpies.

At present, Kamikamica now plays for the Sunshine Coast Falcons and will continue to play for the club for the remainder of the year before relocating to Melbourne.

The 22-year old recently played for Fiji in the Pacific Test and has received glowing praise from Craig Ingebrigtsen.

“He is the hardest working young man I have ever witnessed play the game at this level,” Falcons coach Craig Ingebrigtsen said.

“Tui is always trying to improve his game on and off the field, he really values the jersey he plays in each week and genuinely cares for the playing group he plays with.

“A great advertisement to any aspiring player who wants something, if you work hard enough someone will find you and give you the opportunity to realise your dreams.”

Cowboys centre signs new deal

Kane Linnett

One of several off-contract players out North Queensland way, they have one less to worry about now, with Kane Linnnet re-signing with the Cowboys for a further two seasons.

Linnett, 27, originally from Shellharbour in NSW, says he is excited to continue his tenure with the Cowboys.

“I always wanted to stay here. When I came up from the Roosters at the start of 2012, I haven’t looked back and have thoroughly enjoyed playing with such great teammates and in such a settled environment,” Linnett said.

“This is a fantastic club to play for, and the recent success we’ve had adds to that enjoyment.

“I’ve also settled well into the North Queensland lifestyle, having made some great friends away from footy as well.”

Praised by all involved with the club, Linnett has been a mainstay of their side for several years now. General Manager of Football Peter Parr was one to give that praise to Linnett.

“Kane’s ultra-consistent, very professional and a vital member of our team,” Parr said.

“We’ve worked very hard to retain as many players as possible, and we’re pleased Kane has chosen to remain with us.

“We’d like to think we create an environment which gives players the opportunity to play the best footy of their careers, and with blokes like Kane, Antonio and Lachlan, I think you’ll find that’s the case.”

Tigers vice-captain signs new deal

Chris Lawrence

One of the Wests Tigers best players of the modern era, Chris Lawrence has had the ups and the downs during his time at the club.

But in a boost for both Lawrence and the club moving forward, the Tigers vice-captain has signed a new 3-year deal with the club.

The 27-year old made his club debut in 2006 and since then, has played in 175 games in Wests Tigers colours and sits on 72 total tries – second on the Tigers all-time list.

With an aim to become a one-club man, Lawrence is pleased to have re-signed with the club.

“It’s very exciting to re-sign with the Club for the next three years,” Lawrence said.

“I’m really pleased to be able to stay at Wests Tigers and hopefully I can become a one-Club player.

“It’s a really good group of players here at Wests Tigers, we are tight bunch of guys and all get on with each other really well, so I’m looking forward to continuing that over the next few years.

“I’ve really enjoyed the vice-captaincy role this year, I definitely see myself as a leader in this group as it’s a pretty young squad.”

2016 marked the first year that Lawrence has become a back-rower and he admits that he still has much to learn about the role and wants to keep getting better.

“On an individual level, this is my first year as a full-time back rower, so I really want to grow and develop my game in that position – hopefully I can keep improving with each game I play there,” Lawrence said.

“From a team perspective, I want to get Wests Tigers back into the top eight, and the top four, because that’s where we should be,” he said.

Lawrence does work for the club both on and off the field and his exhaustive efforts drew praise from Wests Tigers CEO, Justin Pascoe.

“Chris is an excellent ambassador for the Wests Tigers’ brand,” Pascoe said.

“He is a very hard-working individual, both on and off the field, so we are very pleased to have him commit to the Club for three more seasons.

“Chris is a great leader amongst the playing group and is very active in the Wests Tigers’ community, including the important role he plays as one of the Club’s beyondblue ambassadors,” he said.

Those sentiments were echoed by Tigers coach, Jason Taylor.

“Chris is an absolute pleasure to have at the Club,” Taylor said.

“He’s an out and out professional who turns up every day and prepares himself in the absolute best possible way. He sets a great example for the younger players at the Club and we are very happy and excited about the future with Chris continuing to be one of our leaders.

“The thing with Chris is that he puts his body on the line every single week and plays with every ounce of energy that he has.

“His move to the backrow has been a really positive one, he has enjoyed it, and he is actually getting better as time goes on when it comes to knowing that role,” he said.

Change of clubs works out as Tigers back-rower re-signs

Michael Chee-Kam

For some players, a change of clubs is the best thing that can happen to them and that was the case for Michael Chee-Kam.

Starting out at Manly, he seemed destined for bigger things but form and injury got in the way. A move to the Wests Tigers then happened and that has proven to be a great blessing for the back-rower.

Just recently, he made his club debut and with two full games for the Tigers under his belt, he is pleased to extend his stay with the club for a further year.

“I’m really excited to get another year with the boys, especially with this great Club,” Chee Kam said.

“They gave me the opportunity last year to sign with them and now I’m repaying the faith by staying around and putting my best foot forward.”

Since joining the club, Chee-Kam has felt right at home and has enjoyed the transition.

“Everyone has been really welcoming, right across the whole the club, there is a great bunch of people at Wests Tigers,” he said.

“Everyone is talking about team and I think that goes across the whole Club – everyone has been welcoming and I’ve really enjoyed playing footy again.”

Tigers coach Jason Taylor has had a close eye on Chee-Kam and praised his ability and form.

“Michael has been a great addition to our roster this season,” Taylor said. “He has worked really hard during pre-season and I’m really excited that he has re-signed for another year.

“Michael is a pleasure to have a the Club and it’s a great sign for the future of Wests Tigers that we have players like him wanting to stay here,” he said.

Warriors confirm release of Hurrell

Konrad Hurrell

Having played minimal footy this year, the New Zealand Warriors have made the decision to release Konrad Hurrell from the remainder of his contract.

Playing in just three games so far this season, Hurrell has fallen down the pecking order and the club felt it was the right move to allow him to search for new horizons and new challenges.

“After discussions between Konrad, his management (Inventus Sports) and us we’ve reached a mutual agreement for him to be released now,” said Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle.

“We would like to thank Konrad for his contribution since coming into our development system. He has been a popular member of the club and we wish him all the best for the future.”

Hurrell, 24, played in a total of 71 games for the Warriors and leaves the club with good memories and great friends.

“I will always be thankful to the Vodafone Warriors for all they have done for me and the way they have helped me develop as a rugby league player,” he said.

“I’m grateful to all the boys I have played alongside, all the people at the club and also the members and fans.”

NRL Teams Rd 12

Almost halfway through the regular season already, can you believe it! The first of the major bye rounds is this week as Origin looms just around the corner. With only eight teams set to play this week, they have a chance to keep momentum going or to regain form. Just who will get the wins in this shortened week.

Brisbane Broncos v Wests Tigers (#NRLbriwst); Friday May 27; Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Kick-off: 7:50pm.

Broncos: 1. Jordan Kahu 2. Greg Eden 3. Jack Reed 4. James Roberts 5. Lachlan Maranta 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Adam Blair (C) 11. Alex Glenn 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jarrod Wallace.

Interchange: 14. Jai Arrow 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Tevita Pangai Jr. 17. Kodi Nikorima.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Tigers: 1. Jordan Rankin 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Tim Simona 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Mitch Moses 7. Luke Brooks 8. Tim Grant 9. Dene Halatau 10. Ava Seumanufagai 11. Josh Aloiai 12. Chris Lawrence (C) 13. Elijah Taylor.

Interchange: 14. Sauaso Sue 15. Matt Ballin 16. Kyle Lovett 17. JJ Felise 18. Michael Chee-Kam (One to be omitted).

Coach: Jason Taylor.

St George Illawarra Dragons v North Queensland Cowboys (#NRLsginql); Saturday May 28; WIN Jubilee Stadium, Wollongong. Kick-off: 7:30pm.

Dragons: 1. Jason Nightignale 2. Kalifa Fai Fai Loa 3. Euan Aitken 4. Tim Lafai 5. Kurt Mann 6. Gareth Widdop (C) Benji Marshall 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Mitch Rein 10. Russell Packer 11. Jake Marketo 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin.

Interchange: 14. Jacob Host 15. Dunamis Lui 16. Siliva Havili 17. Will Matthews 19. Josh McCrone (One to be omitted).

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Javid Bowen 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Jahrome Hughes 7. Ray Thompson 8. Ben Hannant 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper (C) 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Rory Kostjaysn 15. John Asiata 16. Coen Hess 17. Patrick Kaufusi.

Coach: Paul Green.

Canberra Raiders v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLcancby); Sunday May 29; GIO Stadium, Canberra. Kick-off: 4pm.

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Edrick Lee 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Shannon Boyd 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Sia Soliola 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Shaun Fensom.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Jeff Lima 16. Clay Priest 17. Joseph Tapine.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Bulldogs: 1. Sam Perrett 2. Curtis Rona 3. Josh Morris 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Tyrone Phillips 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Moses Mbye 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham (C) 11. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 12. Greg Eastwood 13. Tim Browne.

Interchange: 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Adam Elliott 16. Danny Fualalo 17. Craig Garvey.

Coach: Des Hasler.

Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels (#NRLnewpar); Monday May 30; Hunter Stadium, Newcastle. Kick-off: 7pm.

Knights: 1. Jake Mamo 2. Cory Denniss 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Nathan Ross 5. Akuila Uate 6. Jaelen Feeney 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Sam Mataora 9. Danny Levi 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tariq Sims 12. Pauli Pauli 13. Jeremy Smith (C).

Interchange: 14. Tyler Randell 15. Korbin Sims 16. Josh King 17. Mickey Paea 18. David Bhana 19. Pat Mata’utia (Two to be omitted).

Coach: Nathan Brown.

Eels: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Semi Radradra 3. Vai Toutai 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Clint Gutherson 6. Corey Norman 7. Kieran Foran (C) 8. Junior Paulo 9. Issac De Gois 10. Danny Wicks 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Beau Scott 13. Tepai Moeroa.

Interchange: 14. Kaysa Pritchard 15. Peni Tereo 16. David Gower 17. Kenny Edwards.

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Defence the name of the game as Storm grind out win over Eels

Suliasi Vunivalu

Joining us today to write a match report on lats night’s game is passionate Eels fan and Twitter user @troypod78. He casts his eye over what happened, all the key moments and what led to the eventual win for the Storm.

In front of a crowd of 8941 at Pirtek Stadium, Melbourne have come away 18-6 winners over the home team, the Parramatta Eels.

Melbourne scored the first try of the match through Vunivalu after receiving a penalty which gave them great field position. Cameron Smith failed with the conversion and the score remained 4 nil.

A no try to Cooper Cronk was ruled by the bunker after Cooper was found to have pushed Eels second rower Manu Ma’u in the back.

A crucial blow to the Eels in the 13th minute when captain Beau Scott was forced from the field with a quad cork that was picked up early in the match. He failed to return for the remainder of the game.

A couple of try scoring chances went begging for Parramatta one after a Corey Norman bomb was knocked on by Michael Gordon and another chance went begging after Semi knocked on again from a Norman bomb.

Melbourne fullback Cameron Munster was everywhere in defence for the Storm with try saving tackles and defusing a chip and chase from Gordon and certainly stopping the Eels from scoring on 3 occasions.

In the 33rd minute, a Blake Green kick was caught on the full by Koroibete who scored out wide for the Storm after Gutherson for the Eels was found to be out of position. Smith failed to convert and the Storm were out to 8 nil.

Right before halftime, a penalty to Melbourne after a Parramatta offside play nearly saw the Storm score a third try to Dale Finucane. However, a try saving tackle in a last ditch effort by Manu Mau stopped that and the bunker ruled no try.

Early on in the second half Munster suffered a elbow injury but he had it strapped up, toughed it out and remained on the field.

Despite that injury, Storm coach Craig Bellamy is confident that the injury sustained by Munster is not serious.

“I think he’s ok, I think he’s jarred it or hyper-extended it,” Bellamy said.

“I don’t think it’s anything real serious but having said that he’s a tough kid. For him to stay out there tonight just goes to show how tough he is and how important footy is and his teammates are to him.

“It would have put us in a bit of a hole if we lost him at that stage but he battled on so I’m thinking it’s not too bad and I’d imagine he’d be looking forward to the week off and hopefully he’ll be 100 per cent next game.”

Parramatta then had a few try scoring chances with Gordon being held up over the line and then knocking on, so the pressure was off Melbourne.

In the 54th minute, Semi Radradra was held up over the line again and the score remained 8 nil.

A video ref try was awarded to Vunivalu after there was a suggestion of a double movement but it wasn’t to be. Smith converted and with 15 mins to go, Melbourne went 14 nil in front and were seemingly in control of the game.

Quick hands out to the left saw former Parramatta player Cheyse Blair score out wide to make it 18 nil with 10 mins to go. Smith failed to convert.

In the end, a consolation try to Jennings after a Foran grubber for Parramatta was converted by Gordon to make the final score 18-6.

Melbourne go on to win their 5th game straight whilst Parramatta have now lost 2 in a row, making their task of playing finals footy harder needing to win 12 from 13.

Despite the loss, motivation is still high at the Eels and Brad Arthur is confident that his side can still make the finals.

“No [the finals aren’t gone]; they’ve been made a little bit harder but that can’t be our priority at the moment. It’s got to be next week,” Arthur said.

“We said what the equation was at the start, we need to keep it positive and we still need to keep it positive. We just need to focus on each week.”

Defence wins games and the steely resolve of the Melbourne side impressed coach Bellamy.

“I thought our defence was great tonight. Our ball control in the first half especially was really good. I suppose ruthless is a good word, especially the way we defended,” Bellamy said.

“To hold them to zero until the 79th minute was a tremendous effort. I thought our defence was really urgent tonight and that obviously led the way to win the game.”

Player of the Game:

3. Suliasi Vunivalu
2. Blake Green
1. Michael Gordon