Wests Tigers go down to Eels in thriller

For the second time in as many weeks, Wests Tigers have fallen two points short of their opponents with the Parramatta Eels recording a 24-22 victory.

The visitors looked to have wrestled back ascendency in the contest when Benji Marshall crashed over 15 minutes from time, but a late effort from Manu Ma'u saw Parramatta home in an enthralling contest.

The loss still leaves Wests Tigers inside the top eight of the competition, with three two-point defeats (Round 3, Round 7 and Round 8) the only blemishes on a so far dominant season for Ivan Cleary's side.

In a tense and close affair to start, both teams would trade penalty goals inside the opening 10 minutes of the game before Esan Marsters finally broke the game open with a clever run back on the inside.

His sharp stepping found a hole between Ma'u and Kaysa Pritchard, with Corey Thompson backing up on the inside to cap off the simple try and register his fifth try of the 2018 season.

Marsters made no mistake with the conversion from in front, taking the lead to 8-2 after 26 minutes.

However, an error off the kickoff from Josh Aloiai invited the Eels on to the front foot and they would soon level the match through Bevan French as he out-leapt David Nofoaluma to score out wide.

Off the back of an incredible run of penalties, Parramatta would take the lead for the first time in the game five minutes before half-time, with a dubious pass from Mitchell Moses finding Michael Jennings to score.

Moses would hook the conversion, however, leaving the Eels lead at just four, before a late penalty goal to Marsters would see the hosts' advantage cut to just two as both teams hit the sheds at ANZ Stadium.

As they did last week against the Knights, Wests Tigers came out firing to start the second half and quickly re-took the lead as a perfect no-look pass from Luke Brooks put Matt Eisenhuth over untouched.

Marsters' conversion from in front gave Wests Tigers a 16-12 advantage, but their lead would be short-lived as a late offload from Manu Ma'u saw Brad Takairangi dive over in the corner in the 59th minute.

Moses' sideline conversion would restore the Eels slender lead, with the home side leading 18-16. 

 

The back-and-forth affair would continue, and after Thompson was stopped inches short of his second try of the day, a brilliant run and offload from Mahe Fonua would put Wests Tigers back in the lead, with  Marshall the beneficiary of the Tongan international's resilience to keep the ball alive on last tackle.

Marsters would make it 22-18 in favour of Cleary's side, before another raid down the left for Parramatta came up trumps as Ma'u broke away from his defender to crash over from short range.

That would see the Eels back in front and despite the best efforts of Wests Tigers late on, they would be unable to find the two points required to take back the lead with Parramatta hanging on to win.

Parramatta 24 (French, M.Jennings, Takairangi, Ma'u tries; Moses 4/5 goals) def. Wests Tigers 22 (Thompson, Eisenhuth, Marshall tries; Marsters 4/4 goals) at ANZ Stadium