The Mounties displayed a dominant and classy performance against the fourth-placed Eels to secure a 34-26 victory over Parramatta at Aubrey Keech Reserve.
A win for Mounties would take them to equal points with the Eels, behind their opponents and the Raiders only on points differential. However, Parramatta were keen themselves to get the two points in order to comfortably remain in the top four.
Mounties began strongly through the middle and it did not take long before the opening try was scored through Lachlan Lewis, who regathered his own kick to score next to the posts within three minutes. Halfback Brandon Wakeham converted easily to give his side an early six-point lead.
The returning Lachlan Lewis seemed to be his side’s biggest attacking threat as another kick over the top of Parramatta’s defence led to a try, this time for Declan Casey, before Wakeham converted again to take Mounties’ lead to two converted tries.
It was all Mounties in the opening ten minutes and a third try for the home team came from yet another Lachlan Lewis kick, this time kicking in behind the line for his centre Aaron Schoupp, who tapped it forward himself before regathering and scoring for his side’s third consecutive try. Brandon Wakeham converted yet again to extend his side’s lead to 18.
NSW Cup Round 8 Match Highlights: Mounties v Eels
Mounties continued their strong start, threatening to score again, however some gutsy Parramatta defence gave the away side a scoring chance at their own attacking line and it was all they needed to score their first try of the game through a barging Elie El-Zakhem. Jordan Rankin could not convert the try, keeping his side behind by fourteen points.
It looked as though Mounties had gained momentum back, attacking inside the Eels’ 20 again, however the away side were able to turn defence into attack and score a 90-metre try when Will Penisini picked up a loose ball to run the better part of 20 metres before handing the ball to Haze Dunster to finish it off. Rankin was able to convert this try, decreasing the margin to eight.
Parramatta, after a terrible start, were able to get themselves back into the game before halftime through a beautiful El-Zakhem offload to young halfback Jakob Arthur to score near the corner. Jordan Rankin converted his second of three attempts to take the Eels into the sheds just two points behind, at 18-16.
The second half began much like the first, with Mounties scoring inside five minutes through a raging Ben Seufale to score between the posts and extend his side’s lead to six points before Wakeham converted easily, taking the margin again to eight points.
The away side, however, did not look like giving up, and an outstanding long-range effort from Sean Russel saw the Eels just four points behind. Another unsuccessful conversion attempt from Jordan Rankin kept the margin at four with 25 minutes to go.
With momentum swinging between both teams, Mounties threatened to score again, however a penalty gifted them the opportunity to extend their lead to a converted try. They did just that through a fifth consecutive conversion for Brandon Wakeham before taking another penalty goal opportunity to take their lead to 28-20.
Mounties, desperate for a win, secured their victory through Reuben Rennie, who glided through a hole in the opposition’s defence to score between the posts. A flawless six from six conversions for Wakeham handed the home side a convincing 8-point win.
Mounties 34 (Ben Seufale 2, Lachlan Lewis, Aaron Schoupp, Declan Casey tries: Brandon Wakeham 7 golas) def. Parramatta Eels 26 (Elie El-Zakhem, Haze Dunster, Will Penisini, Sean Russell, Jordan Rankin tries: Jordan Rankin 3 goals)