Parramatta continue to challenge just outside the top eight of the NRL Ladder with a 24-10 victory over St George Illawarra Dragons at Homebush.
It was the Eels’ sixth straight win against St George Illawarra in their most recent clashes.
The Dragons were missing Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell, who were absent on Origin duties, but even had they been involved it is doubtful the result would have been different.
Parramatta dominated the first half, but it was not truly reflected on the scoreboard at half-time. Clint Gutherson, a late switch to fullback, was in sensational form, scoring two tries and having a hand in several important attaching movements.
But a late try to Nene Macdonald, set up by internationals Gareth Widdop (England) and Jason Nightingale (New Zealand), made the difference look respectable.
Soon after play resumed after the break, Eels centre Michael Jennings, returning from injury, picked up a loose ball and raced 50 metres to score and restore their healthy lead. Bevan French, moved back to his familiar role on the right wing, sealed the victory midway through the second half.
Eels: 4 Clint Gutherson; 2 Semi Radradra, 3 Brad Takairangi, 20 Michael Jennings, 1 Bevan French; 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses; 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Kaysa Pritchard, 10 Tim Mannah (c), 11 Manu Ma’u, 16 Kenny Edwards, 13 Nathan Brown. Subs: 14 Beau Scott (c), 15 Suaia Matagi, 17 Will Smith, 19 Siosaia Vave.
Tries: Gutherson (3, 25), Jennings (47), French (56); Goals: Gutherson 3/3, Moses 1/1
Dragons: 1 Jason Nightingale; 2 Nene Macdonald, 3 Kurt Mann, 4 Timoteo Lafai, 5 Kalifa Faifai Loa; 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Josh McCrone; 8 Russell Packer, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tariq Sims, 12 Joel Thompson, 13 Jack de Belin. Subs: 14 Jacob Host, 15 Leeson Ah Mau, 16 Hame Sele, 17 Taane Milne.
Tries: Macdonald (36), Vaughan (63); Goals: Widdop 1/2
Full coverage of all the weekend’s NRL matches can be found in Monday’s issue of League Express