Wests Tigers have gone down in a thriller to the Parramatta Eels today with a field goal from Corey Norman in the final minutes giving the visitors a 17-16 victory.
The home side looked to get the match off to the perfect start when Clint Gutherson was taken over the sideline, but a last-second pass on the inside put Semi Radradra in to space and the Eels on the attack. And it didn’t take long for the visitors to turn that in to points as Bevan French found space on the outside and cut back on the inside to score.
Gutherson added the extras from out wide to give the Eels an early 6-0 advantage.
It didn’t take long for Wests Tigers to hit back with the Club’s Origin stars combining — Aaron Woods popping a late offload for James Tedesco on halfway before the fullback burned the Eels’ cover defence and beat Radradra to touch down in the corner.
Lolohea converted from the sideline to level the match at 6-6 after 15 minutes.
Wests Tigers looked destined to extend their lead when a wonderful cut-out from Lolohea found Esan Marsters in space, but his draw and pass to David Nofoaluma was well-read by Radradra and knocked down — leaving the score locked at 6-all.
However, off the ensuing scrum, Eels captain Tim Mannah would be penalised in the play-the-ball, with Lolohea adding the two from front to give Wests Tigers a 8-6 lead.
The home side continued to threaten the Eels’ line and looked destined to cross for more points, only for Alex Twal to be pulled down millimetres from the line. That would prove costly for Ivan Cleary’s side as off the back of a strong run from Corey Norman, the Eels regained the lead through Radradra, touching down in the corner for a 10-8 advantage.
This time Gutherson was unable to convert, leaving the visitors with a two-point lead.
Cameron King looked to have extended Parramatta’s lead as he burrowed over shortly after the break, but it was ruled back after Mitchell Moses came up with an error in the play-the-ball. And after scrambling well on their own line, Wests Tigers were able to work the ball up field and level the match through a second penalty goal to Lolohea.
A third penalty soon after would give Wests Tigers the lead once more, before Radradra and Gutherson combined to put the Eels back in front with 20 minutes remaining.
This time Gutherson converted his own try, extending the Eels’ lead out to 16-12.
A sensational take from Malakai Watene-Zelezniak put the 30,901 crowd at ANZ Stadium on their feet — soaring above the pack to level the match at 16-all.
However, Lolohea was unable to add the extras close to the sideline, leaving it at 16-all.
But it would be the Eels who had the last laugh on the day, with a field goal from Corey Norman three minutes from time sealing a thrilling 17-16 win for the visitors.
Parramatta Eels 17 (French, Radradra, Gutherson tries; Gutherson 2/3 goals, Norman 1/1 field goal) def Wests Tigers 16 (Tedesco, Watene-Zelezniak try; Lolohea 3/4 goals)