The Parramatta Eels have succeeded in their pairing of Brett Finch and Feliti Mateo in the halves, as was the return of point scoring fullback Luke Burt who made a strong return from knee surgery last night. Both sides fielded strong lineups in the Bluetounge Stadium match and will take plenty away from the early season hitout. The Eels getting over the top of the Roosters 34-18, with Burt kicking superbly with 5/6.

Burt was not the only player impressing for the Eels with Jarryd Hayne looking right at home at centre.

Hayne punched a hole through the Roosters defence in the fifth minute to set up the opening try before combining with winger Eric Grothe to score one of his own later in the half.

His display was enough to suggest he will be able to fill the void left by the explosive Timana Tahu’s crossing of codes to New South Wales in the off-season.

Parramatta coach Michael Hagan said: “I thought Jarryd in particular was good with the footy but I thought his defence was very good.

“He and Eric have practiced a fair bit there and so I am sure that will get better, there were some good signs there.”

Burt thought Hayne could be on the way to filling the big shoes of Tahu.

“We did lose T but then you get a guy like Haynesy taking that spot there and you could put Haynesy anywhere in the back line and he is going to kill it,” Burt said.

“T was a big loss but Haynesy is looking like he has done the job the last couple of weeks and I am really looking forward to playing behind him.”

Roosters coach Brad Fittler felt his side was exposed around the ruck against the speedy Eels but can be encouraged by the work of five-eighth Braith Anasta, who set up two tries for Amos Roberts.

The Roosters open their NRL season Friday week against Souths at ANZ Stadium.

By ricky

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