Rugby League

Roosters dig deep to hold off determined Eels

June 16, 2024 7:04 am

[Source: NRL]

The Roosters have maintained their place inside the top eight by holding off a determined Eels outfit to win 28-18 in a pulsating contest at CommBank Stadium.

Trent Robinson’s side appeared on course for a commanding victory after racing out to a 16-0 lead midway through the first half, before Parramatta stormed back into the contest and took the lead early in the second half as a costly sin bin from Jared Waerea-Hargreaves gave the home side the momentum.

Blues forward Angus Crichton delivered another standout performance alongside James Tedesco and Luke Keary – who were both part of the NSW squad for Game One – with his second offload try assist of the game putting the Roosters back in front once the Eels had gained the lead, before crossing himself late on to ensure the two competition points for his side.

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The win sees the Roosters maintain their place inside the top eight while the Eels are languishing in 15th with just one win since Round 6.

It was a costly start for the Eels who went down to 12 men inside the opening five minutes as Kelma Tuilagi was sin binned for a lifting tackle on Lindsay Collins.

The Roosters would almost instantly make the most of the advantage – crossing through Junior Pauga in the set after the penalty before doubling their lead in the 10th minute when Angus Crichton’s late offload put Michael Jennings over.

With Sam Walker’s deadeye goal-kicking and James Tedesco’s decisive handling at the back, the Tricolours were well on top when Tuilagi returned from the bin, with a 12-0 lead and over 65 percent of the possession.

Eels youngster Blaize Talagi went close to putting the hosts on the scoreboard after 14 minutes but was denied by a desperate cover tackle from Luke Keary.

The Roosters veteran had a hand in everything early on, charging down a Mitchell Moses kick to put his side back on the attack, before eventually turning the weight of possession and field position into points for his side with a scrum move resulting in Daniel Tupou crossing untouched after 28 minutes.

Waerea-Hargreaves was sent to the sin bin for high contact on Shaun Lane seven minutes from half-time which opened the door for the Eels to finally crack the Roosters’ defence. Big man Junior Paulo put Reagan Campbell-Gillard through inside his own half, with the Origin hopeful then showing great pace to race away before finding Moses backing up on the inside to score.

Just as the Roosters made the most of their man advantage in the first half, Parramatta did the same with Waerea-Hargreaves off the field as Dylan Brown pulled the home side within four points with a mazy 20-metre solo effort.

Off the back a wonderful fend and offload from Will Penisini, Talagi would sensationally bring the Eels level with their third try in the space of 11 minutes, before a penalty goal from Moses had the home side in front and the crowd on its feet with Parramatta holding an 18-16 lead with half an hour to play.

The Roosters would take back the lead with 15 minutes remaining when Crichton offloaded for Tupou to cross for his second try of the game before winning the race to a Sam Walker kick with five minutes remaining to put the game beyond doubt.