Dominant Eels Crowned National Champions
A dominant Parramatta Eels outfit have secured a 48-12 victory in the Under-18s National Final over the Western Mustangs.
It was the sixth occasion in the past seven years where the NSW-based side has won the annual fixture, with Ethan Parry backing up last week’s hat-trick heroics by piling on yet another three tries, as well as taking out Man of the Match honours.
It would be unfair to only highlight individual performances as the Eels were fantastic across the park, saving one of the more complete performances of the year until the final game.
The Eels would be first to get on the scoreboard, with centre Haze Dunster finishing off a threatening right-side movement to dive over in the south-western corner. Unconverted by Kyle Schneider, the NSW side led 4-0 early.
Some smart second-phase play soon put the Eels on the front foot again, with some Ethan Parry brilliance helping the Eels. Parry, who scored a hat-trick in his side's SG Ball Grand Final victory, lept to take another try early in the piece against the Mustangs - a four-pointer which was almost identical to his first last weekend. A missed conversion left the score at 8-0, before Parry split the defence to run 50 metres off the resulting kick-off. A forward pass prevented the Eels from scoring a third on that occasion, but they had all the momentum.
Bad soon turned to worse for the Mustangs, with Parramatta star fullback JP Nohra going on a fantastic run to compound the visitors' woes. The 60-metre line-break earned the Eels their third try to make scores 12-0.
With the floodgates opened, the Eels halves began to pile on the points, when Dylan Brown burst through the Mustangs’ defence to score a try for his side off the kick-off set.
A right-side raid Uikilifi Lea Aetoa led to yet another Parramatta try when he beat various defenders before throwing a perfect pass to his five-eighth Joseph Taipari, who strolled over to extend their lead to 24-0.
When you’re up so far on the scoreboard, the ball generally bounces in your favour - and that’s exactly what happened to Parry, who chased hard on a grubber which cruelly bounced over the head of his opposition defender, for Parry to plant the ball down.
On the other side of the half-time break, Parry earned his hat-trick in similar circumstances, however this time he had more work to do in beating his defender to the ball kicked into the in-goal.
Cruise Martin-Brown went so close for the Mustangs, crossing the line and almost planting the ball down, but Nohra was able to brilliantly strip the ball out, denying the try.
Off the back of that effort, the Eels were able to score another fantastic looking try when Brown chipped the ball in the direction of William Kei, who re-gathered, evaded the fullback and scored adjacent to the posts.
Kei was in on the action again when he made a massive run up the middle of the field, and the Eels were able to take advantage of back-tracking defence by putting a kick through for Dunster to score.
The final try was scored by Brown, capping off a dominant 48-12 victory for the Parramatta Eels.