The Parramatta Eels showcased their dominance on Saturday night with a convincing 34-4 win over the Manly Sea Eagles, extending their winning streak to four matches and solidifying their mid-season resurgence. Coinciding with the 40-year anniversary of their triumphant 1983 Grand Final victory against the Sea Eagles, the Eels put on a stellar performance in the first half, scoring four converted tries, all successfully kicked by Clint Gutherson, to establish a commanding 24-4 lead.
Throughout the game, the Eels maintained control of possession, leaving Manly with only 37 percent of the Steeden, resulting in 12 fewer sets of six and forcing them to make 120 additional tackles. The stark contrast in possession and territorial advantage highlighted the Eels‘ dominance on the field.
Manly had a tough time watching the scoreline unfold, knowing it could have been much worse. The Eels had several other try attempts that were disallowed by the Bunker, further emphasising their superiority throughout the match. From the outset, signs of Manly’s impending struggle were evident, as what initially appeared to be a lucky escape on nine minutes for Manly turned out to be the beginning of their downfall.
Parramatta’s unsuccessful scoring attempt resulted in fullback Kaeo Weekes being sin-binned for a professional foul. Capitalising on the one-man advantage, the Eels scored twice within the five minutes following his sin-binning, with Ofahiki Ogden and Bailey Simonsson crossing the try line to further extend their lead to 12-0.
Once Weekes returned to the field, the Sea Eagles managed a try down the left edge through Christian Tuipulotu, giving them a glimmer of hope for a comeback. However, any chances of a resurgence were quickly extinguished by the Eels‘ strikes from Gutherson and Hopgood.
The second half saw a lull in scoring, with possible tries from Sean Russell and Maika Sivo being disallowed by the Bunker. Nonetheless, Simonsson secured his second try on the 61st minute, increasing the Eels‘ lead even further. Sivo and Ogden both faced disappointment as their subsequent attempts at scoring were denied, but Sivo found redemption by executing a deft chip kick, setting up Makahesi Makatoa for his first NRL try and culminating in a comprehensive victory for the Eels.
Overall, the Eels‘ exceptional performance in both halves and their overwhelming ball control proved to be the key factors in their resounding win over the Sea Eagles. Their synchronized attacking and defensive efforts allowed them to dominate the match, leaving Manly struggling to find a foothold and witnessing their hopes of victory slipping away. The Eels‘ impressive form in recent weeks has undoubtedly solidified their position as a force to be reckoned with in the NRL.