Semi Radradra

In an impressive display by their forwards to overpower a forward pack regarded as one of the game’s best, the Parramatta Eels have now won two on the trot after a 20-6 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.

Usually a bogey ground for the Eels – considering their recent record against the Bulldogs was quite bad – they burst out of the blocks and had the Bulldogs under pressure the entire game.

Their players hit hard and ran hard, and suffocated the Dogs attack with some resiliency in defence.

Whilst the defence is a key improvement for the Eels after strong emphasis on it in the pre-season, it was the Semi Radradra show last night.

With 1 try assist and two tries to his name, Semi announced himself in 2016 after a slow start in the first two rounds.

A bomb went up and Semi, chasing hard, managed to grab it, spin on the ground in one movement and offload a no-look pass for Jennings to score his first Eels try.

Following that, he scored the Eels two other tries, including a great solo effort that saw him brush off four defenders and run 40m to score.

The Dogs had all the momentum at one stage after numerous penalties and repeat sets but the Eels defence held their line and held firm, not giving the Dogs an inch to move in attack.

The game did have its fair share of controversy, when a Bulldogs try went up to the NRL Bunker with a lack of communication between the on-field ref and the Bunker.

Eventually, it was called a forward pass, but Bulldogs fans and players were left sour after the call, given it was not effectively communicated as a forward pass to check for.

The Bulldogs scored a late consolation through Hopoate but it was too little, too late.

Given a licence to offload, the Eels made full use of it in the first half, creating a lot of second phase play.

“We give our boys a licence to play a bit of footy,” said Eels Head Coach, Brad Arthur.

“As long as we’re willing to back it up with our defence and play tough, but also there’s a time and place for it.

If you carry the ball hard usually you’ll get yourself in a position where you can offload the footy. If we’ve got someone we can pass it to it’s hard to defend.

Teams are very good nowadays at defending set plays and structures so if you can break them up somehow – and the Dogs got a few on us at the back end of that game that became harder for us to defend.”

Although Des Hasler and James Graham were confused about the controversial forward pass decision, neither saw it as the reason they lost the game.

“It probably was a momentum killer,” Hasler conceded.

“The only thing I can assume is that he shouldn’t have called a try, he should have sent it straight to the bunker I guess.”

“I guess that they’d given try and I guess I didn’t know you could overturn it on a forward pass but I don’t think that’s why we lost tonight, let’s be honest,” said Graham, the Bulldogs captain.

“Maybe it’s a different game, it gives us some momentum but I don’t believe it’s the reason we lost.”

Player of the Game:

3. Semi Radradra
2. Corey Norman
1. Michael Gordon

Parramatta Eels 20 (Semi Radradra 2, Michael Jennings tries; Michael Gordon 4 goals) def Canterbury Bulldogs 6 (Will Hopoate try; Moses Mbye goal) at ANZ Stadium. Half time: Eels 6-0. Crowd: 30,018.

By ricky

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