A total of 613 days after their last away win, Parramatta were teased, prodded and eventually rewarded by football fate at Suncorp Stadium.
Coach Brad Arthur was in the job for the first time when the Eels beat Brisbane at the same venue in July 2012. During an enthralling 80 minutes on Friday night before 32,009 fans, there were times when the Eels looked certain to fall short, and others when victory seemed inevitable. In the end, it wasn’t until halfback Chris Sandow kicked a 42-metre field goal with five minutes left that the away drought was assured of ending.
Eels halfback Chris Sandow weaves his magic against Brisbane. Photo: Getty Images
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Copley, Hunt, McGuire||Tries||3||Tries||4||Players||Hopoate, Radradra, Hayne, Peats|
|Players||Parker 3/3 (100%)||Conversions||3||Conversions||3||Players||Sandow 3/4 (75%)|
|Players||Penalty goals||0||Penalty goals||1||Players||Sandow 1/1 (100%)|
|Players||Field goals||0||Field goals||1||Players||Sandow 1/1 (100%)|
Earlier, hooker Nathan Peats had forced his way over from dummy half after former Bronco Corey Norman bent back the home side’s defence on the previous tackle.
Brisbane have claimed the lead for the first time 11 minutes into the second session. Halfback Ben Hunt had burst into the clear, dummied outside to Ben Barba, and crossed near the posts for a converted try.
The seesawing continued nine minutes later, Parramatta fullback Jarryd Hayne beating Josh Hoffman one-on-one and the video referees clearing the Eels of obstruction in awarding the try. Brisbane took four minutes to reclaim the ascendancy, when Parra winger Ken Sio fumbled a bomb. The video officials painstakingly checked possible knock-ons in the air by Alex Glenn and Todd Lowrie before giving prop Josh McGuire the touchdown. With a minute left in the fist half, Parramatta were sitting pretty after scoring two sizzling tries which piloted them to a 10-0 lead.
Parramatta winger Semi Radradra was a constant handful for the Broncos' defence. Photo: Getty Images
At 24 minutes, prop Peni Taripo and Sandow combined over 50 metres, Sandow’s pass being knocked down by Broncos winger Daniel Vidot in the north-eastern corner. The ball was snapped up by centre Will Hopoate who scored, Sandow unable to convert from the touchline. The second blue-and-gold try was even more eye-catching.
Winger Semi Radradra was involved in the start and also finished off the 85-metre movement.
Hopoate and ex-Bronco Corey Norman also chimed in but Radradra produced the star turn as he powered down the left wing, ignored the support of Willie Tonga, and stumbled through Barba’s attempted tackle to score. Video referees Steve Clark and Grant Atkins ruled the ball had not touched the ground while Barba had a hand on Radradra, allowing the try, and Sandow’s goal brought up that 10-point advantage.
But Broncos centre Justin Hodges was not happy to clock-watch. Darting out of dummy half, Hodges palmed off Norman, sucked in two of his teammates and then off-loaded one-handed to winger Dale Copley. With a clear run to the line, Copley did his job and Corey Parker’s conversion narrowed the margin to four for the break. Before kick-off, the Eels lost veteran front-rower Fuifui Moimoi to a badly cut leg.