Wednesday 24 January 2018 / 10:51 AM


EELS 20 d. BULLDOGS 4 @ ANZ Stadium

The burgeoning Parramatta Eels eased to a comfortable 16-point win over the ever-unthreatening Canterbury Bulldogs at a sodden ANZ Stadium, despite failing to breach their battling opponents’ try-line in the second half.

THE MATCH: Bulldogs coach Des Hasler reshuffled his stagnant line-up pre-match, with Chase Stanley switching to halfback, Matt Frawley to the bench, Michael Lichaa out of the side altogether and Brenko Lee the new man at centre.

It failed to ignite their attack or decrease the sloppy errors – or even spark any defensive urgency, with Eels toiler Daniel Alvaro driving his way to the softest of tries in the 11th minute.

Mitchell Moses then exploded for the blue-and-golds, making an electrifying break to set Bevan French up for a try then firing the money ball as Semi Radradra scored out wide, setting up a 16-0 halftime lead.

The second half was about as dour as the NRL gets: the Eels’ only addition to the scoreboard was two penalty goals, bookending a fine try to Bulldogs rookie Marcelo Montoya, laid on by a Lee break.

The result has temporarily catapulted the Eels into a share of third spot, pouring the acid on Cronulla, Brisbane and North Queensland ahead of their Round 22 assignments.

THE MAN: Mitchell Moses arrived at Parramatta the most maligned player in the NRL. Much of the vitriol was warranted, but he has gradually settled into the Eels’ line-up at five-eighth and is playing a major role in their well-timed surge. His two brilliant try involvements were ultimately the difference in this clash, and if Moses’ confidence maintains its trajectory his first finals campaign will be one to remember.

THE MOMENT: Soon after the embarrassing Alvaro try – which saw the tyro power through James Graham and Aiden Tolman to reach the line – Josh Morris came up with a howling error, knocking on from a penalty tap. With the Bulldogs’ most experienced and reliable performers struggling with the basics, there was no chance of their confidence-stricken line-up halting the Eels’ momentum.

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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