The Parramatta Eels kickstarted with 2024 campaign with a win over rivals the Canterbury Bulldogs with a determined display, despite some concern over Mitch Moses. 

Moses did not depart the field but was believed to be carrying a groin injury which scans have since cleared him of any major damage.

Both sides began the game feeling each other out as they went tit-for-tat, unable to break each other down.

The first try would soon come, however, as Dylan Brown put it on the boot and Eels debutant Morgan Harper showed great skill to hold and ground the ball before the in-goal line.

The Dogs winger stocks then took a hit when Josh Addo-Carr was in distress – scans would later reveal an AC joint injury – but he would stay on, despite one arm effectively hanging by his side.

Moses then opted for a penalty goal to take the Eels lead out to eight points.

Bryce Cartwright then scored perhaps the easiest try of his career when he strolled through a huge gap off a pass from dummy half by Joey Lussick.

Lussick was then involved again, this time kicking  a 40/20 to put the Eels on the front foot early in the second half.

The Eels capitalised as Cartwright had a second with a spin, a duck and a roll, on the back of some tremendous offloading by Ryan Matterson.

Down but not out – although perhaps leaving the run too late – the Bulldogs would score their first with a shift down the right resulting in a Blake Wilson try.

A second soon followed after an Eels error that saw former Penrith duo Viliame Kikau and Stephen Crichton combine, with the centre scoring.

That would be all she wrote for the Dogs, though, as a dropped ball saw Harper race away before he found Bailey Simonsson on his inside who raced away to score.

Still with work to do, the Eels showed they can score points and defend well, with a tough game against arch rivals Penrith in round 2.

Eels coach Brad Arthur was pleased but knows there is still work to do.

“There’s plenty for us to improve but I’m happy with the start,” Arthur said.

Despite his side’s loss, Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo praised the grittiness and determination of his side.

“”I couldn’t be prouder of them. I thought we were really tough and gritty,” Ciraldo said.

Paramatta Eels 26 (Cartwright 2, Harper, Simonsson; Goals: Moses 5) def. Canterbury Bulldogs 8 (Wilson, Crichton).

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Bryce Cartwright (PAR)

2. Junior Paulo (PAR)

1. Morgan Harper (PAR)

By ricky

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