The South Sydney Rabbitohs NYC side have gone down to the Parramatta Eels by 40-26 at Parramatta Stadium tonight (Friday).
With five minutes left on the clock, it was a ten-point ball-game with the Rabbitohs looking promising within striking distance. But the top-four Eels would prove too strong for a resilient Rabbitohs outfit.
It took just four minutes for the Eels to get on the score-board with a deft inside pass close to the line allowing Josh Aloia to barge over. Halfback Zach Dockar-Clay converted from out wide to make it 6-0.
Just two minutes later, the Eels were at it again when winger Leva Li picked up a loose ball before proceeding to expose the Rabbitohs’ lack of number on the short side to score. Dockar-Clay’s conversion attempt hit the upright from an almost identical position to the previous try to leave the score at 10-0.
The Rabbitohs wouldn’t be outdone though. After some strong running in mid-field, a penalty close to the line to the red and greens allowed winger Tom Hughes to carry two Eels over the try-line with him to open Souths’ account for the evening 20 metres in from touch. Irae Simone sprayed the conversion attempt to make it 10-4.
On the resumption though, Parramatta got the ball straight back from the kick-off after the ball was allowed to go over the touch-line on the bounce, allowing Leva Li to grab his second of the night. Docker-Clay’s boots were certainly accurate, but only in so far as they found the Parramatta Stadium upright for the second successive attempt.
Eels Replacement forward Jordan Muna powered over the try-line to score under the sticks. Docker-Clay added the extras right at the half-way point of the first stanza to make it 20-4 in favour of the home-side.
Things got worse for the Rabbitohs when they found themselves down to 12 men when a Rabbitohs player was sin-binned for a professional foul. The Eels capitalised immediately when other winger Halauafu Lavaka crossed to make the score 24-4.
As the first period came to a close the Rabbitohs managed to lessen the deficit through John Olive who crashed over out wide. Simone showed composure to convert a difficult kick from the sideline.
The Rabbitohs got off to a positive start in the second half with Brad Wall scoring after a grubber in-goal from Olive was knocked on by a Parra player. Devon Makoare-Boyce converted to make it 24-16
The comeback was short-lived as the Eels scored through Tyrell Fuimaono who collected a high ball and went over. Dockar-Clay made no mistake with the conversion.
Parramatta backed it up mere minutes later when Leva li bagged a hat-trick, with Docker-Clay converting from the touch-line.
It was a case of tit-for-tat in the following minutes, with the Rabbitohs responding through Captain Cameron McInnes, who barged through from dummy-half. Makoare-Boyce converted to make it 36-22. But Makoare-Boyce would also add his name to the try-scorers list eight minutes from full-time in outstanding fashion, when he toed through a loose ball before re-gathering and scoring to make it a 10 point ball-game.
But with two minutes left, the Eels put the result beyond doubt with Halauafu Lavaka grabbing his second of the night to make it 40-26.
Eels 40 (Josh Aloia, Leva Li 3, Jordan Muna, Halauafu Lavaka 2, Tyrell Fuimaono, tries; Zach Dockar-Clay 4 goals)
Rabbitohs 26 (Tom Hughes, John Olive, Brad Wall, Cameron McInnes, Devon Makoare-Boyce, tries; Simone, Makoare-Boyce 2 goals)