Without Mitchell Moses, all the pressure was on the Parramatta Eels in their crucial clash with the Manly Sea Eagles. 

Not only did the Eels have a tendency to drop points against sides they should beat but they were playing at 4 Pines Park, a venue they had a notoriously poor record at.

The win keeps the Eels top four hopes alive and makes Manly’s top eight ambitions slightly harder.

It was the Eels quickest out of the blocks as a simple shift left and a cutout pass from Clint Gutherson saw Maika Sivo race down the sideline to score the opening try after just two minutes.

A smart short side play then saw the Eels rewarded with a second.

Dylan Brown was able to avoid Daly Cherry-Evans rushing from marker and found Gutherson who chipped over the top for Sivo to catch the ball and score a second.

Manly would soon assert some dominance and ascendancy of their own and enjoyed a sustained period of pressure that saw them score points.

The first try for Manly came via the boot as Cherry-Evans kicked crossfield and Tolutau Koula soared through the air to come down and score.

Manly then went to their left and some nice ball movement saw Jason Saab use his speed and evasiveness to both stay in the field of play and score the try.

Needing a response after a lacklustre 20 minutes, the Eels did just that and it was once again the left edge.

Brown put Shaun Lane through a half gap and a one-handed pickup from Gutherson found Tom Opacic on his outside who went over to score.

At 14-all and with the match evenly poised, it was a half that would test Parramatta’s mettle. Were they contenders or pretenders?

The half did not start as they would have wanted, as Christian Tuipolutu was able to get the ball over despite stiff attention from Gutherson.

Then came perhaps the try of the game in what was a scintillating effort from Waqa Blake.

Shifting the ball right, it was young Eels half Jake Arthur who lofted a ball over the top, one that Blake had to leap to catch.

Doing so, he then soared through the air from about 6 metres away from the tryline and contorted his body enough to keep his legs in the air and ground the ball.

A true Superman-like effort that had the commentators in awe of his athleticism.

The left edge would once again carve up the Manly defence and Brown found Lane who found Gutherson and he put the afterburners on to leave Reuben Garrick for dead.

Arthur was at it again on the right soon after, as he kicked ahead for good mate and fellow junior Will Penisini, who beat everyone to the ball to score.

It was Brown who then put the icing on the cake as he took the line on himself, broke it, and bolted past a tired Garrick to score under the posts and give the Eels a 36-20 win.

Manly coach Des Hasler was brutally honest about his side’s finals chances; win their last four games or it won’t happen.

“We have got to win the next four from four [to make the finals]… I haven’t done the math, but anything less is not going to work,” Hasler said.

Eels coach Brad Arthur praised his side’s resiliency to both claw back the deficit and momentum, and then run away with the contest.

“I thought that we stayed in the fight [in the second half], because they came at us early and got a try,” said Arthur.

“We came away with what was needed at the back end of that half.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Clint Gutherson (PAR)

2. Dylan Brown (PAR)

1. Jason Saab (MAN)

Parramatta Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown

By ricky

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