Taking a home game to TIO Stadium in Darwin as a part of their partnership with the Northern Territory Government, the Parramatta Eels remain undefeated at the venue in three attempts after a 22-12 win over the Gold Coast Titans.
Played in warm, humid conditions, it was the discipline of the Eels side that eventually got them over the line, even if their attack was not as fluid as it needed to be.
The Titans were looking to consolidate a top eight position prior to the match but ended being their own worst enemy, shooting themselves in the foot on numerous occasions.
They did score the first two tries of the game but inopportune errors at crucial times limited any other decent attacking raid.
With so many injured halves at the Eels, back-rower Kenny Edwards filled the role in this game and performed well – laying on a try assist – but he may want to leave the general kicking to Corey Norman in future.
The Titans had all the early running as they scored the first two tries of the game, one the result of a brilliant no-look cut-out ball by young half Ash Taylor.
The two missed conversions were telling, though, as the Eels eventually clawed their way back into the contest after two disallowed tries.
A Titans error led to young Eels speedster Bevan French racing away to score with some assistance – or even some hindrance – from the post.
The Eels then scored again through fullback Michael Gordon before a couple of penalty goals from the custodian either side of half-time extended the lead to 22-8.
Try as they might, the Titans could only muster one further try in the contest, a second to winger Anthony Don.
The one sour note for the Eels was Kaysa Pritchard placed on report for a dangerous head-high tackle on Will Zillman.
Not completing sets is crucial in NRL and although Titans coach Neil Henry knew it was not the only reason why his side lost, it did not help their cause.
“Ultimately when they’re completing around 84 per cent and we’re just over 50, itâ€™s a simple game sometimes, you’ve just got to hold the ball,” Henry said post-game.
“It was a good start, maybe it was too good a start really. I think anyone watching the game [could tell], it’s pretty simple, they held the ball and we didnâ€™t.”
Both Eels coach Brad Arthur and captain Beau Scott were pleased with the turn-out in Darwin and hope it leads to bigger and better things.
“We’ve seen a good crowd there tonight,” he said.
“Hopefully we get some young kids here tonight who want to play in that arena. [If we] get a few kids who want to play the game at that level it’s done its job.”
Added skipper Beau Scott: “I’ve met a fair few people over here who’ve got all their kids playing over here and really give us a good following. I’ve really enjoyed meeting a few people and the experience of Darwin.”
Player of the Game:
3. Michael Gordon
2. Corey Norman
1. Anthony Don
Parramatta Eels 22 (Bevan French, Michael Gordon, Kaysa Pritchard tries; Michael Gordon 5 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 12 (Anthony Don 2, Agnatius Paasi tries) at TIO Stadium. Half-time: Eels 12-8. Crowd: 7,722. On report: Kaysa Pritchard.