‘Finally’, the Parramatta Eels fans will be crying out. Their opening win of 2018 was a big one over arch rivals, the Manly Sea Eagles.
After eight straight losses dating back to September, the Eels are off and running in season 2018.
Although, it was not all good news, as key utility Jarryd Hayne suffered a hip flexor injury.
It was a criticised man in Mitch Moses who made the difference, notching three try assists, two forced drop-outs and 16 points with the boot.
It was a very different story for Manly’s Daly Cherry-Evans.
After being fined $10,000, his week went from bad to worse. He conceded four penalties and made three errors.
In a week where the Eels used fiery training sessions to pump themselves up, it was Moses who benefited most.
“(Moses) has been trying very hard and it worked for him today,” Eels coach Brad Arthur said.
“He showed a good level of composure and patience, as both halves did. They’ve been trying hard, it just hasn’t been working.”
It was the Eels who started as the aggressors, camping themselves in Manly’s half but only coming away with a penalty goal.
In the end, some hot-potato, razzle-dazzle footy produced the first points, as back-rower Manu Ma’u got the Eels first try.
It was then George Jennings’ turn to score, finishing off the play after a great cut-out pass from Moses.
The scoring did not stop there; Kaysa Pritchard capitalised on an offside Jake Trbojevic and glided over to score.
Corey Norman then glided through Manly’s defensive line before Moses chipped ahead for Michael Jennings.
It was all one-way traffic for the Eels, although they answered back with two tries either side of Eels tries.
Brad Parker scored first in the corner, Kenny Edwards then ran a great line for the Eels before Manly winger Akuila Uate powered over.
The last laugh would go to the Eels, however,
Mitch Moses produced a tremendous darting run before finding Clint Gutherson inside to score in his first game as captain.
Despite much talk about the incident in Gladstone, Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans played the whole thing down.
“Not at all, considering how quickly we moved on from the situation,” Cherry-Evans said.
“There was no lingering awkwardness and it certainly didn’t leave it as an excuse to play poorly today. No way.”
After five years away from the Eels, Jarryd Hayne admits that he forgot the team song.
“I was a bit confused there when I was singing [the victory song], but I’ll get the hang of it,” he laughed.
“It’s taken us a while to get that first win, but right now it’s a big relief. That’s the word for it and obviously now we’ve got to back it up next week.”
Player of the Game:
3. Mitch Moses
2. Corey Norman
- Tim Mannah