Rugby League

Asi steps up to secure Eels win against Cowboys

April 13, 2024 8:32 pm

[Source: NRL]

Former Cowboys playmaker Daejarn Asi repaid the faith of Eels coach Brad Arthur by scoring a late try and kicking a field goal to secure a 27-20 win at CommBank Stadium.

Asi, who made his NRL debut for North Queensland in 2020, was called into the Parramatta side to partner Dylan Brown at the scrumbase after last weekend’s 41-8 humbling in Canberra.

The inclusion of the Samoan international freed up Brown to revert to his running game and the star playmaker led the way for the Eels with 163 metres from 15 runs with the ball.

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The 23-year-old scored Parramatta’s fourth and final try in the 62nd minute before sealing the win with a 77th minute field goal after a spectacular Scott Drinkwater kept North Queensland on track for their fifth win in six outings.

The Cowboys started fast and Kyle Feldt, who last week passed Matt Bowen as the greatest tryscorer in the club’s history, appeared to have added to his tally after just three minutes but the try was disallowed for an obstruction by Jeremiah Nanai.

The strike second-rower made amends almost immediately when he leapt above the Parramatta defenders to snatch a cross-field kick from fullback Scott Drinkwater and score on the next set of tackles.

Yet despite North Queensland dominating the early stages, the Eels took a 6-4 lead after just 10 minutes when ball playing backrower Bryce Cartwright put prop Joe Ofahengaue over for a try near the posts.

Cowboys centre Tom Chester, called up after Zac Laybutt ruptured his ACL last weekend, put the visitors in front midway through the first half after Drinkwater created space for him to score on an angled run.

The lead changed again in the 27th minute after Eels hooker Joey Lussick passed with halfback Dylan Brown and backed up to receive a ball from a jinking Will Penisini near the tryline to score.

Ahead 14-10 at half-time, Parramatta became the first team to score back-to-back tries when centre Morgan Harper crossed just four minutes after the interval and captain Clint Gutherson’s conversion extended the home side’s lead to 10 points.

However, Kangaroos centre Val Holmes kept the Cowboys in the match when he forced his way over the tryline off a Tom Dearden pass in the 50th minute.

The Eels went further ahead after Asi scored midway through the second half but a spectacular Drinkwater try nine minutes from fulltime ensured a grandstand finish.

Gutherson set up for a field goal but was was tackled in possession so the ball came to Asi who calmly kicked the first one pointer of his career to secure victory for the Eels.