In a frantic game played infront of well over 28,000 fans in New Zealand, the Parramatta Eels have held off a late try from the New Zealand Warriors to run out 12-10 winners.
In an amazing, but scoreless first half, both teams threw the ball around in the face of vicious defence. It was nothing shore of tough, tight, ruthless defence of both teams that kept the game scoreless at half time but it was clear both teams needed to play more percentage football in the second half.
After half time both teams were notably more controlled and it was the Warriors that posted the first points of the game with a try that went un converted. The Warriors then had a number of sets of six on the Eels try line but were unable to covert the posession into points, it was a game changing moment of the game and they payed for it.
The Eels scored two converted tries and took a 12-4 lead, but a contravercial penalty try to the Warriors with three minutes remaining in the game set up a grand stand finish.
While the Warriors did their best, it wasnt enough, and their fate in the finals now relies on other games to go their way. If two of the teams below them in the top 8 win out of the Broncos, Rabbitohs or Bulldogs, the Warriors season is over.
The Eels can look forward to playing on again next week. They played well but still looked shakey at times. As for the Warriors, if things go their way they need to find more in attack because at home they should have been much better with the ball in their hands.
Much will be written about the penalty try given to the Warriors in this game, however I have to say I agree with it.
Wade McKinnon was passed the ball with a clear try line ahead of him but was tackled from behind before he recieved the ball, causing him to knock on.
The reason we have a penalty try rule is to stop defensive players purposly spoiling the play in a foul manner to stop the opposition scoring. Some would suggest this is a professional foul, and I would agree, but the line between a penalty try and a professional foul is very slim.
A professional foul would see a penalty given and a defensive player given ten minutes in the sin bin.
A penalty try is awarded under the cross bar giving an almost certain 6 points to the team its awarded too.
When a player is about to recieve the ball with no on in front of him, ten meter out from the try line, and is dragged down from behind before he recieves the ball, surely that is a very good candidate for a penalty try.
All in all, it was a great game. Let hope the rest of the finals games are just as good.