Showing some ticker and resolve in recent weeks, the Parramatta Eels have looked better and were richly deserved winners in their clash v the North Queensland Cowboys.
Entering the round as the only team yet to win a game this season, the pressure was on the Eels and it all eventually came together despite a late Cowboys fightback.
The Cowboys had all the early ascendancy and had a try disallowed via China Polata for obstruction.
This was soon followed by a disallowed try for Eels winger Zali Fay, as both sides continued to press for points.
The first try would eventually come as Fay looped a pass from dummy half that Mahalia Murphy ran onto beautifully, carrying several defenders over the line with her to score.
The Eels then kept momentum and had a second before the break as a pinpoint crossfield kick by Rachel Pearson found an unmarked Kim Hunt to score out wide.
An even better crossfield kick from Pearson in the early stages of the second saw Hunt score her second as the Eels looked in cruise control.
The Cowboys may have been down but they were not out as they hit back with a try to debutant Libby Surha.
Kirra Dibb took the line on, drew an extra defender in, and found Surha running the line to score.
Unfortunately, Surha’s night would end soon after as she left the field with a possible dislocated elbow or shoulder.
A second followed for the Cowboys as Tiana Raftstrand-Smith motored her way over the line, leaving defenders in her wake.
The Eels would hold on valiantly, though, and break their duck in season 2023.
Eels coach Dean Widders praised his side’s efforts and knows that they deserved a win for their continued hark work and perseverance.
“The best part for me is that the girls deserve it and they really get an opportunity to enjoy it down there,” Widders said.
“We’ll let them enjoy it and know what it takes, and the reward you get when you win them at this level.”
Cowboys coach Ben Jeffries lamented his side’s defensive frailties throughout the match.
“We had a lot of missed tackles so again we’re not getting up defensively, aiming up, whether that’s individually or collectively when we’re in tackles,” Jeffries said.
“You can’t be missing so many tackles.”
Parramatta Eels 16 (Hunt 2, Murphy; Goals: Pearson 2) def. North Queensland Cowboys 12 (Surha, Raftstrand-Smith; Goals: Dibb 2).
NRL News NRLW Player of the Year
3. Cassey Tohi-Hiku (PAR)
2. Mahalia Murphy (PAR)
1. China Polata (NQL)