Parramatta have recorded a tense 14-12 victory over the reigning premiers, the Sydney Roosters in front of 15,312 fans at Pirtek Stadium tonight.
It was a one sided affair when these two teams met about a month ago but since then Parramatta have improved remarkably with two straight victories over the Panthers and Broncos. Sydney on the other hand were coming into this match off two narrow losses to the Sea Eagles and Bulldogs and were desperate to avoid a third.
This mission didn't get off to the best start as Parramatta dominated field position and territory as Chris Sandow sent it through the hands to put Ken Sio away for the opening try. The Eels weren't going to fade away like in Round 2, they were committed in both attack and defense.
Roosters were slightly off-beat early in the contest highlighted by fleet footed winger Daniel Tupou spurning two opportunities to get across the stripe. It was left to an unlikely source, Sam Moa who took an inside ball and didn't stop until Nirvana.
The game was characterised by some crunching defense down the middle as both sides were denied due to desperate lunges with Eels fullback Jarryd Hayne coming up with a key stop late in the second half.
If the Eels were to win though, they needed to get in front of the Roosters once again. They did that twice either side of halftime with Chris Sandow making a carbon copy of the opening try just with the boot instead of the hands. Ken Sio was once again the receipent and the winger had a brace.
Daniel Tupou wasn't to be upstaged though. The light stepping winger spied a gap between Sandow and Hayne accelerated through it and it was curtains for the defense. Roosters despite being underwhelming in the opening forty minutes held onto a slight 12 points to 10 lead over a plucky Parramatta side.
The tough slog that endured in the first half continued well into the second half, as the Roosters started to open gaps in the Eels defense but weren't able to force their way through them.
Semi Radradra was able to though - the winger who had eight tries in five games before tonight took it upon himself to get across the stripe, as he kamikazed himself into the defensive line twice within five minutes. The first was given a try despite the attentions of Sonny Bill Williams, the second was a good effort from the Roosters to hold him up.
Once again that would underline the effort of Parramatta not only tonight but thus far in 2014, they weren't going to be the easy-beats this year which has surprised a few teams including the Roosters tonight. This effort was highlighted by the stop by Jarryd Hayne two minutes from time, getting underneath a rampaging Sonny Bill and keep the ball from the turf.