NRL premiership contender Parramatta has scrapped home to beat Cronulla 14-12 in an absorbing encounter played in atrocious conditions at a waterlogged Kogarah Oval.
- The Titans move up to 13th place on the ladder, one position ahead of the Cowboys
- The home side scored six tries to two in their comprehensive victory in Robina
- The Cowboys have now lost six matches in a row
In Sunday’s earlier match, the Gold Coast Titans became Queensland’s top-ranked team after a 30-10 win over the Cowboys in Robina.
At Kogarah Oval, players were sliding everywhere and the ball often stopped dead in on-field water puddles, with the Sharks going down to the Eels despite scoring three tries to two.
Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown and Sharks counterpart Shaun Johnson both put on wet-weather masterclasses, while Mitchell Moses was also influential for the victors.
After the Eels led 12-4 early in the second half courtesy of a Brown try and try assist, Johnson almost gave the Sharks the win in a chaotic four minutes.
Having kicked for Jesse Ramien for the Sharks’ first try, he put a juggling Ronaldo Mulitalo over for their next with a cut-out ball to make it 12-8.
From the next set he kicked a 40-20 as Eels captain Clint Gutherson let the ball go out.
It put Cronulla on the attack and allowed Johnson and Will Kennedy to find Mulitalo to go back against the grain and beat three defenders to score.
But Johnson’s errant goalkicking from the sideline was to prove costly.
With scores locked at 12-all and 11 minutes to play, Braden Hamlin-Uele was penalised for hitting Reagan Campbell-Gillard off the ball and the Eels kicked clear.
Johnson then coughed up the last chance to claim the match, fumbling his own short grubber in the last minute.
Earlier, Brown had shown experience well beyond his 20 years of age.
He got the first try of the match when he fooled the Sharks’ goal-line defence, faking left before darting over from dummy half in the 19th minute.
Brown’s superb day continued after half-time when he dummied his way to the line and offloaded for Kane Evans to score.
The win keeps Parramatta third on the ladder, while Cronulla is still eighth but two points clear of ninth.
Titans outclass struggling Cowboys
The Titans snapped a 10-match losing streak against the Cowboys in style, racing to a six-tries-to-two win in arguably their best display under coach Justin Holbrook in his first season at the club.
The win lifts the Titans above the Cowboys, into 13th place on the ladder.
With the Brisbane Broncos languishing below both clubs in 15th position after their run of 10 defeats from their past 11 matches, the Titans are now the highest placed of the Queensland teams in the competition.
It is also the first time in 10 years the Cowboys have lost six matches in a row.
The Titans were sensational in the opening 40 minutes, charging to 20-0 lead as the Cowboys imploded.
Full-back AJ Brimson, playing in his second match back from injury, scored a double as the Titans dominated possession and territory.
The Cowboys were as bad as the Titans were good in the opening period, with captain Michael Morgan having a day to forget on his return from a shoulder injury that had kept him sidelined since March.
Morgan had five missed tackles in the first half, two of which led directly to Titans tries.
He was also pinged for an escort penalty late in the half, with the Titans going on to score through Brimson from the resulting set.
In total the Cowboys had a paltry 59 per cent completion rate for the half, missing 23 tackles and making seven errors.
The rout continued in the second half with Kevin Proctor producing a special play to bat back a kick that had gone over the dead-ball line for Brian Kelly to score.
After that play the Cowboys finally responded.
Kyle Feldt pounced after a horror bounce took a Morgan grubber away from Titans’ winger Phillip Sami before Justin O’Neill made it back-to-back tries for the visitors minutes later.
A threatened comeback did not materialise, as the Titans regained the upper hand with Sami wrapping up the scoring in the 69th minute.
The Cowboys only slightly improved their completion rate to 63 per cent and made a total of 14 errors.