Eels survive in nail-biter against Knights

Parramatta Eels lock Nathan Brown

The Newcastle Knights hosted the Parramatta Eels, finally back at their home ground, McDonald Jones Stadium.

If the Knights won, they would make the top 4 while if the Eels won, they took move back into first place.

Early in the game, the late inclusion Tautau Moga had a try opportunity sent to the bunker.

It was ruled a knock on and the Eels survived.

17 minutes in, Ryan Matterson opened the scoring.

A few metres out, Junior Paulo drew in a few defenders and offloaded to Reed Mahoney.

Mahoney handed it off to Ryan Matterson who scored. Clint Gutherson missed the goal and the lead remained 4-nil to the Eels.

Both sides went set for set for a while. With 5 minutes left in the first half, the Knights got their first points.

Andrew McCullough dove over the goal line from dummy-half and corkscrewed around to score.

Kalyn Ponga hit the post and the score remained 4-all.

The Knights had the first scoring opportunity of the second half.

A kick landed on the goal line, under the posts and no Eel wanted to touch it.

It bounced to Tautau Moga but Michael Jennings hit his arm and he dropped it, giving the Eels possession.

First points of the second half came at the hour mark.

The Knights were called offside and Clint Gutherson broke the deadlock and kicked Parramatta ahead 6-4.

The Eels made their lead a little bit safer with 15 minutes left.

Mitch Pearce gave away a high tackle penalty and Clint Gutherson took the quick tap.

Gutherson ran through the a Knights defence caught off-guard and gave it to Maika Sivo to score.

This try tied Maika Sivo as top try scorer so far during the season.

Clint Gutherson hooked the goal and the lead remained 10-4.

With 3 minutes left, it looked like a grubber from Kalyn Ponga and a spectacular put down by Tex Hoy had leveled the game but on a second look, Tex Hoy was offside.

Parramatta survived with their six-point lead until full time.

Although the win was one deemed as ugly, Eels coach Brad Arthur was pleased to get the win.

“We did a lot of defence at training this week – just focused on our defence and hardly touched the ball. It probably showed tonight,” he said.

“But we knew defence would be important for us.

“And at the back end of the year we need to make sure we’ve got our systems in place with our defence.

“[Tonight] we’ve shown we’ve got some work to do with our attack but I’m proud of the defensive effort.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Nathan Brown (PAR)

2. Kurt Mann (NEW)

  1. Reed Mahoney (PAR)
Newcastle Knights five-eighth Kurt Mann

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