Jub-EEL-lation – as Eels finally break duck
Eels 22 defeated Tigers 20 (Golden Point Extra Time)

Parramatta recorded it’s first win last night and kept the Tigers winnless for 2007.

In a poor quality game, where generally the Tigers looked the better side – the desperate Eels somehow hung on and fought hard in the scrappy battle to secure the win.

Once again the Eels looked lost in attack, when the blue and gold side were deep in the Tigers half – seemingly every attacking play ended poorly. Final tackle kick options or movements where the ball was swung wide were easily read and shut down by the Tigers.

The Eels really need to find some cohesion in attack or the road ahead is long and hard. The Tigers showed some impressive line breaks and tackle busts in parts but their final pass and decision making in try scoring situations let them down badly. Seemingly on 3 or 4 occasions the Tigers were certain to score and somehow missed out.

The Eels will take some confidence from the victory and it may be just the stepping stone they need to awake their inner giant for 2007.

In the back-end of the game, with only a 2 point lead and PJ Marsh in the sin-bin – the Eels looked tired and sure to conceed a try, but somehow they the held fast. Finally giving away a penalty to allow the Tigers to lock the game up.

When the match went to golden point, the Tigers changed – and began to play ‘safety first’ football and moved away from how they’d played in the previous 80 minutes. This brought them down to Parramatta s level and saw them ultimately lose the golden point battle.

For the Eels, Reddy performed well in his late call up for Eric Grothe, his early try looked slick and he had a lot to do – putting a nice in and away on the Tigers defender to score in the corner. However he did have a few bad reads in defence, one leading to a Marshall try.

Luke Burt was solid, and played the sweeper role in defence nicely.

Cayless continued his impressive 2007 form and was a standout again in the forwards.

Feleti Mateo the Eels rookie forward once again looked the goods. While the youngster dropped some ball, he has a distinct SBW look about him and is the attacking threat the Eels so desperately need.

For the Tigers, Marshall and Morris looked dangerous with the ball for most of the match. Their trademark across field dummy and go kept the Eels guessing.

Hodgson was always effective for the Tigers and forward Keith Galloway was always eating up the metres for Wests and scored a nice try from 8 metres early on. Both teams will need massive improvement moving forward or they will be cannon fodder in 2007.

Titans bag maiden win
Titans 18 – Sharks 16

By Joel Zander

The NRL’s newest franchise has taken just two rounds to open their account, with the Gold Coast Titans coming from behind to beat the Sharks 18-16 in a thriller at Carrara Stadium on Monday evening.

Down 16-6 with 30 minutes remaining, Wests Tigers recruit Scott Prince and former Shark Preston Campbell combined to steer the Titans home in their first NRL match on the Gold Coast.

Prince and five-eighth Matt Hilder put Mark Minichiello over in the 57th minute and then Prince’s short pass to Campbell saw the little full-back force his way over with six minutes remaining.

Campell made it three conversions from three to put the Titans in front and ultimately give them the win.

The Sharks had led 10-6 at half-time in “the battle of the beaches” after scoring just seconds before the break.

“I’m very happy, it was looking a bit dodgy with 20 minutes to go, they had the ascendancy and were playing well,” Titans coach John Cartwright told a press conference.

“But we really dug in well from there, we got a couple of tries when we needed them and held on well in the end.

“The tries that we scored were good understanding between guys.”

The Titans came from behind against St George Illawarra in their debut match last week only to fall short, but had no such problems this time.

“I suppose the most impressive thing from the coach’s points of view and the fans that were here was the fightback again. They fought hard and were very courageous,” Cartwright said.

Prince, who was a doubt in the lead-up because of injury, was happy to be part of the maiden win.

“The people on the Gold Coast have been waiting a long time for this, just to have the Titans back on the coast,” he said.

“I suppose now we’ve got the monkey off the back and the two points in the bag.”

Sharks coach Ricky Stuart was understandably disappointed, saying his players had dropped too much ball early in the tackle count.

“We had it there to beat them and when you let is slip, it’s disappointing,” he said.

But he said he was happy for Cartwright, who was his assistant at the Roosters.

“I’m really happy for Johnny, it’s good for rugby league that the Gold Coast are up and running,” he said.

He said he might leave a beer with Cartwright for a later date and the Titans coach said he understood.

“I’ll let him cool down, I know what he’s like after a loss,” Cartwright quipped.

Entertaining Warriors bust up Broncos
Warriors 24 – Broncos 14
An exciting NZ Warriors outfit has gone back to back in their victory over the Broncos in Auckland today. Stylish, flowing Rugby League was turned on by the Warriors with their Aussie contingent of Witt, Crocket, Price and Martin all playing brilliantly. The Broncos slump to their second loss for the year and last years premiers have nothing to show for 2007. Click here for full review.

Brilliant Bunnies belittle the Eels
Souths 31 – Eels 6
In a comprehensive display the fast improving South Sydney clan simply cruised past the Eels today in NRL Sunday at Telstra Stadium. The Bunnies were slick in attack and rock solid in defence, and made the again poor Eels look like a reserve grade team. It was a Rugby League lesson for Parramatta as their former coach Taylor and old boys Kidwell, Irvine, J.Smith and Widders made them pay. Click here for full report.

Aiton Show, as Panthers pummell Dogs
Penrith 40 – Bulldogs 10
Video Review: Click Here

Tonight it was Penrith of yesteryear, as the Panthers put on a Rugby League clinic against the highly fancied Bulldogs. After a physical, yet sloppy start to the game – in which both sides took an age to settle. The injection of hooker Paul Aiton for Penrith – saw the tides turn big time. Aiton set the benchmark and the rest of the Penrith players followed. Read full article here.

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