Home side earns their first win of the season in impressive fashion.
They have not had much to cheer about for the past two seasons, but early signs are there that things will be different for Parramatta Eels fans.
Under new full-time coach Brad Arthur, the Eels made an impressive start to their NRL campaign with a 36-16 victory over the New Zealand Warriors at Pirtek Stadium.
The seven tries to three victory was highlighted by their ability to finish off when they got a sniff of the line, with wingers Semi Radradra and Vai Toutai both scoring three tries each.
It was the first time since round two in 1947 that both Parramatta wingers have scored hat-tricks. Keith Gersbach and Dave Munro versus Souths.
The home side suffered a blow in the first tackle of the game when prop Tim Mannah was
taken from the field for a concussion test.
After tacking the hit-up, Mannah got to his feet to try and play the ball only to see him wobble and knock the ball on.
The Eels scored the first try of the season for the Eels after a simple move by Willie Tonga gave Semi Radradra the room to run.
A slew of penalties against the Eels hard on defence have the Warriors several chances to puncture
the home side’s defences.
And on the third set of six at their disposal they were unable to crack the line despite the best efforts of Glenn Fisiiahi, who stretched out to try and score what would have been a miracle four-pointer.
In a good sign for Parramatta, forward leader Mannah made his way back onto the field
in the 12th minute.
Jarryd Hayne scored his team’s second for the day off the back of a sensational effort from Radradra to give them a 10-point lead.
Fisiiahi steadied his side when he crossed thanks to the Warriors being handed possession back, due to Luke Kelly’s mistake from the restart.
Shaun Johnson missed the sideline conversion and the Eels kept a six-[point buffer after 17 minutes.
The home side hit back straight away, thanks in large part to a mistake from Warriors’ skipper Simon Manning.
Parramatta shifted the ball to the right through Hayne and Will Hopoate, before Vai Toutai showed great strength to ground the ball before his knee touched the sideline.
Corey Norman shanked the conversion attempt as the Eels settled, leading 14-4.
Both sides showed signs they might be two of the most exciting sides this season, with space and time out wide allowing several players who resemble track athletes to stretch out.
The Warriors’ options at the end of their sets in the first half hurt their chances, with at least two scoring chances going begging when a kick was taken instead of a well-timed pass.
Sam Tomkins made his impact felt when he laid on a try for Carlos Tuimavave, who paid
a price for his try after he was clipped across the nose by Peni Terepo’s forearm.
As a result, the try was given and Johnson landed two shots at goal to complete the eight-point try, making the score 14-12 to the Eels.
The two-point buffer bode well for the Eels, as they have won seven of their last eight games at Pirtek Stadium when in front after 40 minutes.
Parramatta got the perfect start to the second half as Radradra cleaned up a split bomb, before racing 10 metres to score next to the posts after surviving a review from the video referee.
In what Eels fans will feel is karma paying them back for the eight-point try before the break, Norman slotted the extras to give them a 20-12 lead.
Radradra capped what was a stunning first game for the season as he scored his third try for the game despite controversy.
Desperate in-goal defence from the Warriors saw them roll the massive Fijian winger onto his back before he could ground the ball, however, the video referee still found enough evidence to agree with their on-field counter-part.
The Warriors got the points back quickly as Manu Vatuvai carried three Eels’ defenders across the line, as Johnson failed to add the extras, leaving his side behind by eight.
Hayne looked to have scored an amazing try after crossing the width of the field himself in front of the entire Warriors’ defence, before his effort was again, sent up to the video referee.
And they concurred with their on-field counterparts arguing the Eels’ fullback looked improve the position of the ball after he was pulled up short.
The home side looked to have sealed the win as Hopoate set-up Toutai for his second try for the game, and with another missed conversion, the Eels were up 28-16 with 18 minutes left.
Toutai rounded out the outstanding day for Parramatta wingers in also securing his hat-trick with 14 minutes remaining as the Warriors were left in the home side’s dust.