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Jarryd Hayne stars as Parramatta Eels ruin Benji Marshall's St George Illawarra debut

Parramatta 36 St George Illawarra 0

Jarryd Hayne bedazzled the Dragons at Parramatta on Saturday.

Jarryd Hayne bedazzled the Dragons at Parramatta on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images

Jarryd Hayne won the battle of the NSW fullback contenders as Parramatta surpassed their five wins last season with a razzle-dazzle 36-0 defeat of St George Illawarra at a sold-out Pirtek Stadium.

In a stunning endorsement for Saturday afternoon football and the star power of returning Dragons playmaker Benji Marshall, a crowd of 18,631 turned out to watch the Eels record their sixth win in the opening 10 rounds under new coach Brad Arthur.

Benji Marshall was well below his best in his debut for St George Illawarra.

Benji Marshall was well below his best in his debut for St George Illawarra. Photo: Getty Images

Parramatta versus St George Illawarra
View Match Statistics
Players Sio(2), Norman, Hayne(2), Pauli Tries 6 Tries 0 Players
Players Sandow 6/6 (100%) Conversions 6 Conversions 0 Players
Players Penalty goals 0 Penalty goals 0 Players
Players Field goals 0 Field goals 0 Players

It was a disappointing and frustrating first outing in the famous Red V for Marshall but he was far from alone in a St George Illawarra team which completed just 19 of their 31 sets after committing 19 errors and conceding eight penalties.

In contrast, the Eels could do little wrong as they completed a shut-out of the Dragons, while racing in six spectacular tries.

Hayne crossed for two of them and also came up with a trysaving tackle when he ran down Test winger Brett Morris in another five-star performance for the Eels superstar.

After running 138 metres from 15 carries of the ball, which included one line-break and five tackle breaks, Hayne was rested after his second try in the 73rd minute.

While Hayne will be one of the first players chosen for the Blues, NSW coach Laurie Daley had been undecided whether to select him at right centre or fullback but there would appear no doubt now that he will wear the No.1 jersey in Origin I after outplaying his St George Illawarra opposite Josh Dugan.

The 26-year-old had plenty of support from teammates, with halfback Chris Sandow, five-eighth Corey Norman, lock Joseph Paulo and hooker Nathan Peats creating havoc for the defence.

Centre Will Hopoate may have also staked a late claim for a Blues berth with his best performance since returning from a two-year Mormon mission to join the Eels this season.

Hopoate, who played Origin in 2011, threw the final pass for one of winger Ken Sio's two tries but more impressively was responsible for one-on-one strips on Marshall and St George Illawarra five-eighth Gareth Widdop that helped turn momentum in favour of the home side.

The only down side for the Eels was forward Darcy Lussick, who has been suspended five times previously, being placed on report for a high shot on Dugan in the 13th minute.

Hopoate eased the pressure on his teammates when he stole the ball back from Widdop but he was lucky to remain on the field after being penalised in the 16th minute for holding St George Illawarra centre Gerard Beale back as he was chasing a Widdop kick for a try that was disallowed.

Sio crossed for his first try in the 21st minute off a cut-out pass from Peats that followed a good run from Paulo.

The Dragons had a second try disallowed when Mike Cooper was called back for a forward pass from Marshall and the pair were involved in another mix-up that led to Norman picking up a loose ball and running 80 metres to score in the 33rd minute.

Leading 12-0 at half-time, the Eels showed their intent to go on with the job when Junior Paulo bumped off Mitch Rein, Cooper and Bronson Harrison before he crashed into Dugan and passed to unmarked Hayne in the 44th minute.

Sio's second try was a spectacular effort in which the ball went through eight sets of hands before he scored in the 49th minute and further tries to Pauli Pauli and Hayne rounded out the win.

25 comments so far

  • So this Dragons fan hopes there is just one final box to check; Price's dismissal. The guy has no clue and if he hasn't lost the dressing room by now, he never will. CEO Doust needs to recognize the damage his inaction is doing to the brand. We have a team right up against the salary cap and a coach who has delivered three abysmal seasons.

    Arizona, USA
    Date and time
    May 17, 2014, 6:02PM
    • I think Doust should go. If it wasn't for him, the Dragons might have had Wayne Bennett for at least another year or too which may have also helped Price develop into a better coach.

      Date and time
      May 17, 2014, 7:12PM
  • Past time for Price to go!

    Dragon Forever
    Date and time
    May 17, 2014, 6:03PM
    • Well, ten rounds in. I recall Price having a deadline of 6 rounds to achieve convincing results. The Drag-ons were dismal today to say the least. They have a backline stacked with such undeniable talent that it's simply an embarrassment given they have scored a meek 6 points in the last 160 minutes of game time. When will this honorable club make the changes it needs?

      Date and time
      May 17, 2014, 7:02PM
  • I was a the game and the Dragons were awful - I don't know why you would blame the coach for players throwing forward passes, dropping the ball in tackles, knocking on ...... even though I was happy to see 36 - 0 the Dragons were dreadful , actually felt for Benji .... I think he'll head back to Auckland ;)

    Date and time
    May 17, 2014, 6:28PM
    • The mistakes are a symptom of a team that is under-prepared or without confidence. You could excuse them if it in the first 4 or 5 rounds but not half way through the season. It's the coaches job to build and instill confidence.
      The Dragons are playing like Parramatta were last season. You can see what good coaching has done for them this season.
      You can't expect Benji Marshall to come into a new team and play like he was still in the Tigers in their heyday in his first game back. He was never going to come into the under-performing Dragons and win the game for them.

      Date and time
      May 17, 2014, 8:17PM
  • Marshall below his best? Wrong. It is how he always plays. The decision to recruit him was the stupidest decision one made. Whoever made it needs to be sacked.

    Date and time
    May 17, 2014, 6:34PM
    • If you've had any experience with playing footy before then it's not hard to see that benji Marshall wasn't intended at all to make an immediate impact in his 1st game. Bad decision by Steve price to debut him so early but nevertheless scoreboard wudve been the same if he hadnt played. Team been dismal for a long time and I'm sick of players getting singled out for a team performance

      Date and time
      May 18, 2014, 9:12AM
  • I read once where Jarryd has trouble packing his game bag, well he is playing like he's in another universe. Keep it up son, great to see.
    The Drags look ordinary, Brett Morris hardly sighted, and Dugan looks like he's beefed up but slowed down. Match winners playing in a team out of form.

    Date and time
    May 17, 2014, 7:00PM
    • Benji; time to hang up those boots.

      Date and time
      May 17, 2014, 7:12PM

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