Parramatta Eels half Mitch Moses

Led by half Mitch Moses, who, like his religious namesake, parted the Cronulla Sharks defence – obviously, water for Moses – the Parramatta Eels have bid farewell to ANZ Stadium with a win. 

Keen to bounce back after a last start loss to the Roosters – although they were competitive – this was another stern test.

As the Sharks faced life without Paul Gallen, Wade Graham, Matt Moylan and Shaun Johnson, a late scratching, the conclusion was still in the air.

The win was the Eels first in the traditional Johnny Mannah Cup clash since 2014.

There were early ebbs and flows and a forced reshuffle due to Josh Dugan leaving the field with a HIA led to first points.

Moses’ cross-field kick was fumbled by Sosaia Feki and Marata Niukore pounced to score a rare meat pie.

Feki was keen to make amends and he soon did, as the bouncing ball evaded Eels winger Blake Ferguson as Feki grounded it ahead of the dead ball line.

The Eels would hit the lead again, however, as a set play on the right saw Brad Takairangi with acres of space to simply stroll over.

Not be outdone as the second half began, a sneaky trick play saw the Sharks right back in the contest.

Starting a play right, then feigning and going back to the left, Feki nabbed a double in the corner.

As the Sharks looked to assert their dominance on the match, several surging runs by Eels forwards quickly turned the game around.

Tepai Moeroa, Tim Mannah and Kane Evans all played their part in that build-up, as Moses was again involved to assist.

This time, a spill from Dugan off a Moses grubber, saw Michael Jennings ground the ball with his back to it.

It would then read game, set and match, as Moses found a bullocking Blake Ferguson who passed inside to Jennings for his second try.

With so much talk around attitude, Eels coach Brad Arthur said it is the players driving it and not him.

“It’s got nothing to do with me, it’s the players attitude. They’ve got a real drive in their attitude,” Arthur said.

“When the blowtorch started to get applied to us tonight, we stuck to our guns with what we needed to do and try to play field position and go with them.

“I thought both teams had a red-hot crack.

“The completion rates were high, attrition came into it and both teams were out on their feet.”

Despite the loss, John Morris was proud of his Cronulla Sharks team throughout the match.

“I’m really proud of them, they kept coming against a really powerful team that had a lot more ball than us in the first half and took a bit more juice out of us,” Morris said.

“We couldn’t cover the loss of Woodsy and no Shaun Johnson and no Matt Moylan took its toll when we were attacking their line, we looked a little bit lost.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Mitch Moses

2. Andrew Fifita

  1. Clint Gutherson

By ricky

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