Wests Tigers suffered a heart breaking 26-22 loss to Parramatta Eels at Parramatta Stadium tonight in round 22 of the Telstra Premiership.


A crowd of 12, 013 were on hand to see the Eels get home in the dying minutes to end a 10 match losing streak to leave Wests Tigers second last on the ladder.


The match saw hooker Joel Luani make his NRL debut and become the 166th player to represent Wests Tigers.


Wests Tigers made a late change when second-rower Bodene Thompson suffered an injury in the pre-game warm up, resulting in 18th man Shaun Spence coming into the team.


Parramatta winger Ken Sio was taken into touch just short of the line in the third minute after some desperate cover defence by full-back James Tedesco and half-back Braith Anasta.


Tedesco was involved again two minutes later when he and second-rower Liam Fulton forced Parramatta five-eighth Ben Roberts to lose control of the ball just short of the tryline.


Wests Tigers opened the scoring in the 7th minute when quick hands to the right saw talented winger David Nofoaluma step inside and push his way through two defenders to score out wide. Five-eighth Benji Marshall converted the try to give Wests Tigers a 6-0 lead.


The Eels got on the board on a few minutes later when winger Ken Sio took advantage of Wests Tigers centre Tim Simona rushing up on Jake Mullaney to score out wide. Mullaney failed to convert the try from the sideline to leave Parramatta trailing 6-4.


Mullaney, a former Wests Tigers NYC player, gave Parramatta an 8-6 lead after 17 minutes when he crossed over out wide after the ball was spread left through five-eighth Jarryd Hayne. Mullaney failed to convert his own try.


Wests Tigers went to a 10-8 lead when quick hands by Marshall to Simona saw the centre offload for winger Marika Koroibete to fall over the line to score in the 29th minute. Marshall failed to convert the try from the sideline.


Parramatta regained the lead in the 37th minute when quick hands saw winger Vai Toutai score in the left corner for a 12-10 scoreline. Mullaney converted the the try from the sideline for a 14-10 lead.


2nd Half

Wests Tigers prop Ava Seumanufagai was held up over the Parramatta tryline in the 44th minute. A James Tedesco grubber kick on the last tackle got Wests Tigers a repeat set of six.


A short kick by Marshall on the last tackle got Wests Tigers another repeat set but a knock on from Joel Luani saw the pressure on the Eels released in the 47th minute.


Koroibete could have scored his second try in the 52nd minute with only Sio to beat but he knocked the ball on five metres short of the line.


The second try came for Koroibete four minutes later when Marshall and Tedesco combined to send the winger over for his fifth try in nine games this season. Marshall converted from the sideline to give Wests Tigers a 16-14 lead after 57 minutes.


The Eels took the lead again when forward Junior Paulo got the ball down in a three man tackle to score next to the posts. Joseph Paulo converted the try to give Parramatta a 20-16 lead after 68 minutes.


Wests Tigers hit back in the 71st minute when Simona managed to slam the ball down with his left arm in a two man tackle to level the scores at 20-all. Marshall converted the try for a 22-20 lead to Wests Tigers after 72 minutes.


Toutai caused heartache for Wests Tigers when he dived over from a Ben Roberts pass after the Eels kept the ball alive through several hands in the 77th minute to take a 24-22 lead. Joseph Paulo converted the try from the sideline for a 26-22 lead inside the final two minutes.


The Eels secured victory when a short kick from the restart by Braith Anasta went out on the full.


Wests Tigers team

1 James Tedesco, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Blake Ayshford, 4 Tim Simona

5 Marika Koroibete, 6 Benji Marshall, 7 Braith Anasta, 8 Keith Galloway, 9 Joel Luani, 10 Adam Blair, 11 Liam Fulton, 12 Bodene Thompson, 13 Sauaso Sue

Interchange 14 Ava Seumanufagai, 15 Jack Buchanan, 16 Ben Murdoch-Masila

17 Curtis Sironen