The game of the day... certainly. The game of the round... absolutely. The game of the season… there was every chance!
An undefeated Paramatta Eels side took on a Sydney Roosters outfit who knew that a win would put them right back in contention, and more importantly halt the Eels run at the top of the table.
Both sides made a single change from last weeks winning sides with Oregon Kaufusi replacing Kane Evans for the Eels, and Jared Warea-Hargreaves in for Lindsay Collins for the Roosters.
It was an action-packed opening twenty minutes with both sides having a couple of gilt-edged opportunities to score, but defences were on top against frenetic attacks.
The Roosters drew first blood after a James Tedescu miss out pass found Brett Morris on the wing to go in at the corner, despite a last-ditch effort from the Eels defence to knock him into touch. Kyle Flanagan was unable to add the touchline conversion, Sydney 4-0 ahead.
Flanagan kicked a twenty-fifth minute penalty to extend the lead to 6-0.
A high tackle with ten seconds remaining in the first half gifted Flanagan a simple penalty kick from thirty metres to extend the lead to 8-0 at the interval.
Paramatta turned early second half pressure into points with the ball moved to the left with Michael Jennings dummying before dropping the shoulder and crossing the line. Mitchell Moses couldn’t add the extra two points from wide, the Eels four points adrift.
The sides were level on sixty-nine after Mika Sivo ran over the top of Tedescu to score by the left corner flag, leaving the Roosters full back spread-eagle on the turf and receiving attention. Mitchell Moses converted brilliantly from the touchline to put the Eels two points clear.
Within two minutes the Roosters regained a lead they had just lost, as Boyd Cordner bust the line and went over from twenty metres. Scoring close to the posts gave Flanagan the conversion for a 14-10 lead.
The lead was extended to six points thanks to the boot of Flanagan from 40 metres after an Eels indiscretion.
Jennings was sin-binned on sixty-nine for deliberately slowing down the play-the-ball gifting the Roosters a penalty from the twenty. Flanagan kicked the goal for 18-10, some breathing space against the side with twelve men for almost all the remainder of the game.
The game finally slipped from the Eels grasp on seventy-five when fast hands down the left-hand side with the ball ending up in the hands of Daniel Tupou off a Josh Morris pass for the winger to get over in the corner. Flanagan added the two-pointer for a fourteen-point lead, more than enough to condemn the Eels to their first defeat of the season.
Sydney Roosters: Tedescu J, Tupou (T), Morris J, Manu, Morris B (T), Keary, Flanagan (6G), Warea_Hargreaves, Friend, Taukeiaho, Cordner (T), Crichton, Radley. Subs: Liu, Butcher, Tupouinua, Aubusson.
Paramatta Eels: Gutherson, Sivo (T), Jennings (T, SB on 69), Blake, Ferguson, Brown D, Moses (G), Campbell-Gillard, Mahoney, Paulo, Lane, Matterson, Brown N. Subs: Stone, Niukore, Kaufusi, Terepo.
Referee: Ben Cummins.
Ground: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney.