Red-hot Green Machine respond to Ricky’s rev-up to steamroll over pedestrian Parramatta


The Raiders were given a trademark “Sticky spray” after their pathetic collapse against Cronulla last Sunday.

Seven days later they did coach Ricky Stuart proud with a dominant display to put Parramatta away 41-8 at GIO Stadium, honoured with a celebratory Viking Clap by the delighted fans before the full-time siren had even sounded. 

The Eels did nothing to dispel the notion that they will struggle while star halfback Mitchell Moses is out for at least two months with a broken foot on the back of losing their Easter Monday thriller to the Tigers. 

After missing the finals last year when they were without Dylan Brown for much of the season, coach Brad Arthur can’t afford to come up short again as he faces a lengthy stretch without his key playmaker.

Reinvigorated Raiders rally with red-hot romp

Jordan Rapana was forced off inside the first five minutes after the veteran fullback appeared to suffer what was initially feared to be a dislocated kneecap after a relatively innocuous tackle on a kick return. 

Ethan Strange continued his impressive start to his rookie season in the 14th minute when he jinked his way through three defenders deep in his own half and found Hudson Young backing up in support.

Young should have pinned his ears back as he would have easily beat the cover defence to score in the corner but he flicked the ball back to Simi Sasagi, who was making his club debut at left centre after a backline reshuffle following Rapana’s injury.

Sasagi was immediately pounced on by the Parra defenders but he spared  Young’s blushes by flinging the ball out the back and Seb Kris, who had switched to fullback, was on hand to rescue a nearly butchered try. 

Ethan Strange. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

The Eels thought they had opened their account midway through the first half when Maika Sivo touched down in the corner but the Bunker overruled the on-field call after Clint Gutherson fumbled possession in the lead-up. 

Canberra speedster Xavier Savage avoided Ricky Stuart’s selection axe after his costly blunder the previous week in the loss to Cronulla and the young winger repaid the faith when he created a try out of nothing on the half-hour mark. 

Savage blew past opposite number Sean Russell and left Gutherson for dead in a 70-metre sprint to the line.

A Jamal Fogarty field goal made it 13-0 at the interval and they went further ahead early in the second half when James Schiller broke free down the right touchline before sending centre Matt Timoko over for the Green Machine’s third long-range try.

Timoko showed strength and skill to plant the Steeden over the stripe as he was slammed to the turf over the sideline by Dylan Brown. 

“What about the put down!”

Timoko ????

???? Watch #NRLRaidersEels on ch.502 or stream on Kayo:

— Fox League (@FOXNRL) April 7, 2024

Schiller rolled the dice in the 48th minute when he tried to snatch a Gutherson intercept but he came up with snake eyes to gift the Eels four points when Sivo collected the pass to stroll over in the corner.

With Rapana back on the field after having his knee strapped and getting the all-clear from the Canberra medicos, Canberra regained the momentum when Strange spun the ball wide, Savage kicked infield and Kiwi hooker Danny Levi won the race to the ball after forensic examination from the Bunker eventually declared he was just onside. 

He was ruled to be in front of Savage but the kicker sprinted ahead to put him onside in a crucial call which all but sealed Parra’s fate at 23-4 down with 25 minutes left.

Bunker official Kasey Badger was officially struck off the Eels’ Christmas card list when she ruled Joey Lussick knocked on in the lead-up to a Shaun Lane try which would have been disallowed anyway due to a two-on-one strip.

Xavier Savage shows off his impressive pace ????

???? Watch #NRLRaidersEels on ch.502 or stream on Kayo:

— Fox League (@FOXNRL) April 7, 2024

Timoko and Schiller again combined to make it a 23-point margin with the winger this time benefiting from his right-edge partner’s final pass.

And when Timoko split the Parra defence up the middle, Young backed up and didn’t look back this time to make it 33-4.

Sivo slid over for a late consolation try but that’s all it was as the Eels left the national capital with their tails between their legs.

Acoustic Eels missing spark

Brown is a topline five-eighth but not a natural first-choice playmaker and teenager Blaize Talagi is definitely a star of the future but it’s too much for him to step into Moses’ shoes in the Parramatta halves. 

And nor should he be expected to replicate Moses’ impact.

The problem for Parramatta is that as good as Gutherson is at fullback, they have little else in the way of an attacking spark. 

These are acoustic Eels, not the electric variety. 

They are now 2-3 after five rounds and face a tricky three-game stretch at home to the Cowboys, on the road to Darwin against the Dolphins and then off to Brookvale for a showdown with old rivals Manly. 

And they could also be without veteran prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard for the next week or two after he was reported for a high shot twice in the dying stages of Sunday’s loss.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.