Their start to the season probably has not gone as they have wanted but the Parramatta Eels showed they can still put teams away with a dominant 43-12 win at CommBank Stadium against the Newcastle Knights.
It was one-way traffic for much of the game as Mitch Moses, Clint Gutherson, Dylan Brown and to be fair, most of the Eels players, showed their might to overpower the lacklustre Knights outfit.
It took just two and a half minutes for the Eels to score as Brown took it upon himself to score on the last tackle, burrowing underneath Knights defenders close to the line to score.
The Knights would hit back a few minutes later, however, when Jackson Hastings grubbered ahead and interchange forward Mat Croker won the race to the ball.
At 6-all, things looked evenly poised but this would be as close as the Knights got.
Dummy half Josh Hodgson and Moses then combined as the marquee half stepped right and then left to leave the Knights defence flatfooted as he scored from close range.
Gutherson would then get his first try when he also took a chance on the last and was able to spin out of a Tyson Frizell tackle and reach out to plant the ball down.
It was then a second for Gutherson as he emulated Brown’s earlier effort by burrowing underneath the Knights defence and catching them off guard to nab his second try.
The Eels were not done in the first half as they shifted the ball to the left where Brown found space and he was able to pass to Sean Russell on the inside who outpaced Jackson Hastings to score.
The second half then started much like the first as the Eels broke, once again down the right, and it was Moses who split the defence and found Gutherson inside for his hat-trick.
The Knights do have to be commended for their heart in not letting it blow out by too much more and they would be rewarded with a second try.
Some slick passing down the right saw Dane Gagai bat the ball on for Englishman Dom Young to score in the corner.
The Eels would have the last laugh, though, as Hopgood took the line on, spun, and found Junior Paulo who powered his way over to score.
Then, just to rub salt into the wound, Moses slotted a field goal to see the game end with a scoreline of 43-12.
Eels 43 (Gutherson 3, Brown, Moses, Paulo, Russell; Goals: Moses 7; Field Goals: Moses 1) def. Knights 12 (Croker, Young; Goals: Miller 2).
With the Eels reliant on a power game through the middle, coach Brad Arthur was pleased with his side’s performance and knows more can be done to become better and more consistent.
It’s the best we looked in terms of what we wanted to look like with the footy. We want to get better,” said Arthur.
“We completed at 50 percent at one stage in the second half but it’s the closest we’ve been to where we want to get to.”
Although disappointed with the performance, Knights coach Adam O’Brien is not about to cast any players asunder or throw them under the bus as he believes the effort is there even if the results are not.
“I didn’t see it coming. It was a horrible performance, let’s be honest, but they haven’t been horrible [all year],” O’Brien said.
“I’m not going to kick them to death, I think it’s been a really big month, on field and off field.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Mitch Moses (PAR)
2. J’Maine Hopgood (PAR)
1. Dylan Brown (PAR)