It was one of those must wins for the Parramatta Eels if they were to make the most of some fortunate results in their favour and they delivered, trouncing the Canterbury Bulldogs.
2022 had already seen the Bulldogs lose to several bottom eight sides, the Dogs included, but they were keen to make amends from the get-go.
The spice and tension was in the air between the two sides and it was the Bulldogs who took the lead through an early penalty goal.
The first try would come from the Eels with a crossfield kick from Dylan Brown batted back by Waqa Blake into the hands of Clint Gutherson.
From there, Gutherson found Will Penisini out wide to open the scoring. Moses then slotted the first of several pinpoint sideline conversions.
A simple shift to the right saw the Eels second as Penisini turned provider this time, finding Blake in space for the winger to coast over to score.
The Bulldogs have to be commended for their resolve throughout the year and it showed when Aaron Schoupp scored in the corner, leaving Blake clutching at thin air.
That would be the last time the Bulldogs troubled the scorers, however, as the Eels took the game by the scruff of the neck and ran away with it.
Brown was again involved, this time delivering a cut-out pass on a silver platter for Maika Sivo to stroll over down the left touchline.
Seemingly unstoppable in the contest, Brown had another try assist, this time finding Ryan Matterson with a lovely angled pass, and the back-rower stormed through the gap.
The left side was not left out, though, as Gutherson found Tom Opacic and with the defence backpedalling, he made his way over the line with relative ease.
After being denied an earlier try due to his being offside, Brown would then score the next two for the Eels in a similar vein.
Both were on the back of pinpoint grubbers from Mitch Moses. The last try came via Blake who nabbed a double, a simple try with no-one in front of him.
Eels coach Brad Arthur has often criticised his side for their inability to play eighty minutes but he believes they achieved that against the Bulldogs.
“I thought our start was really good and we maintained the physicality for the 80 minutes,” Arthur said.
“It’s hard to do but I felt like we did. The want was really there today.”
Mick Potter was not so upbeat about his Bulldogs side, admitting that they are not able to go with the grind and it is costing them.
“At the moment, we are really struggling to do that and it’s our discipline and it’s on us,” Potter said.
“We can’t just keep handing the ball over meekly.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Dylan Brown (PAR)
2. Mitch Moses (PAR)
1. Isaiah Papali’i (PAR)