Wests Tigers have suffered a 28-20 defeat to the Parramatta Eels in front of over 13,000 fans at Leichhardt Oval.
The home side bookended the match by scoring the first two tries and final two tries, but 28 unanswered points in between was enough for the Eels to claim victory.
The Eels were relentless in attack early, but the wall of defence stood tall for the home side as they forced three crucial errors.
Shaun Lane looked to have scored the first try of the match, but was denied due to a knock on.
Wests Tigers were soon rewarded for their defensive efforts as Fa’amanu Brown barged over from dummy half to score his third try at Leichhardt this season.
Daine Laurie then doubled the home side’s advantage with his first try of the year, capitalising on an error from Clint Gutherson.
The Eels’ first points of the match came in the 31st minute, with Reagan Campbell-Gillard grounding a grubber kick underneath the posts.
In a further blow for Brett Kimmorley’s men, debutant Justin Matamua was sent to the sin bin for a shoulder charge on Mitchell Moses.
On the back of their sixth penalty of the half, the Eels reduced the advantage to two points before taking the lead on the stroke of halftime.
Mitchell Moses scored the first try of the second half to push Parramatta ten points clear.
Both sides went set-for-set for much of the second forty until Isaiah Papali’i gave the home crowd a taste of what they can look forward to next season by scoring a try in the 67th minute.
David Nofoaluma provided the home crowd with some hope of a comeback as he crossed for a late double, but Wests Tigers would ultimately fall eight points short.
Despite the loss, it was a terrific night for several of the side’s youngest stars.
Fonua Pole was exceptional in his first appearance in the starting side, running for 167 metres.
Junior Tupou was equally impressive on the wing, making one line break and busting four tackles in his ten runs.
Wests Tigers will now turn their attention to another Western Sydney derby next week as they host the Panthers at CommBank Stadium.