Parramatta has all but assured a top-four finish by crushing the Warriors’ hopes of an NRL finals berth with a 24-18 win in Gosford.
- Parramatta sits in third place on the ladder, two points clear of the Sydney Roosters
- The Eels appeared they would cruise to victory when they led 16-0, only for the Warriors to fight back
- The loss ends the Warriors’ hopes of earning a berth in the finals
With three matches left before the finals, the Eels are third on the ladder behind Penrith and the Melbourne Storm, but earning the win over the Warriors was far from easy at Central Coast Stadium.
In a brutally physical encounter, the Eels managed to stave off a passionate fightback from the Warriors, who were playing to keep their finals hopes alive.
The Eels scored three tries in the first half to lead 16-0 after 25 minutes but leaked two in two minutes — both scored by Warriors halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita — to put themselves under immense pressure for the final 40 minutes.
The sides traded tries in the second half to keep the scoreline close, but the Eels turned up the intensity as the Warriors kept coming until the final minute.
The Eels had scored first in the opening half through Maika Sivo, before Warriors lock Jazz Tevaga was controversially sent to the sin-bin in the first half for striking out at firebrand Nathan Brown in a tackle.
Tevaga was battling to stand up and, with a fist full of Brown’s jersey, contacted his face causing Brown to retaliate with a shove.
The Warriors conceded two tries while Tevaga cooled his heels, including Blake Ferguson’s first for the season.
The New South Wales State of Origin winger broke the longest try-scoring drought of his NRL career with his four-pointer in the 25th minute after going 16 matches without one.
Jai Field and Waqa Blake also crossed for the Eels, while Warriors winger Hayze Perham finished off a beautiful try in the second half.
The Eels are two points clear of the fourth-placed Sydney Roosters. They next face the Panthers in an enticing match-up on Friday night.