Michael Jennings has scored two tries in his 200th NRL game as Parramatta registered a 22-10 win over Manly on Kieran Foran’s return to Brookvale Oval.
It was a well-deserved fourth straight victory for the Eels over their bitter rivals, after they were denied two tries to Corey Norman and Brad Takairangi by the match officials either side of halftime on Thursday.
Under-strength Manly, who lost Matt Parcell and Brenton Lawrence shortly before kickoff in addition to having Daly Cherry-Evans sidelined, matched Parramatta for most of the first hour.
But the Eels pulled away late on, scoring three tries in the final 10 minutes through Jennings’ double and Semi Radradra before 14,633 fans.
After Brett Stewart blew an early tryscoring chance, Michael Gordon opened the scoring through a 12th minute Eels penalty goal.
Five minutes later Stewart combined brilliantly on the short side with right winger Tom Trbojevic and Jamie Lyon, for the Sea Eagles skipper to score and push the home side out to an 8-2 lead.
In a rough and ready game up front Manly dominated for much of the first 20 minutes and Parramatta enjoyed the ascendancy for the next 20 minutes.
A no try was ruled against Eels pivot Corey Norman for obstruction in the 29th minute, before Dylan Walker spilt a Foran kick for Brad Takairangi to score. Michael Gordon’s conversion brought the scores to 8-8, after 34 minutes.
Michael Jennings was unable to put the Eels ahead before the break when he dropped the ball with the try line beckoning.
The Eels had another try disallowed in the 48th minute when the bunker backed up the questionable onfield call of no try to Takairangi, due to offside
A Lyon penalty goal put the home side ahead 10-8 in the 56th minute.
Apisai Koroisau failed to clean up an Isaac De Gois kick in the 69th minute and the converted try to Jennings put the Eels ahead 14-10, before his double and Radradra’s effort sealed the win.
Eels forward Tepai Moeroa suffered a first half leg injury and could be sidelined for a few weeks.
Manly winger Jorge Taufua left the field in the 60th minute with a suspected broken collarbone.
Eels coach Brad Arthur said it was another good effort from his side as they moved to equal first on the NRL ladder
“It was a really mentally tough effort, but I thought they probably played with a bit more energy and out enthused us,” he said.
“They came hard at us and we just hung in there.
“All of our effort was good, we just probably didn’t have as much energy as we could have.”
Arthur also expressed his displeasure at the Takairangi no try, saying he felt his three-quarter was onside.
But he conceded the Norman no try was the way the game was refereed these days, and players cannot run behind a teammate.
Manly coach Trent Barrett said the late reshuffle had made things for difficult for his team.
“It was a real arm wrestle,” Barrett said.
“Losing the hooker was tough for us, but I still thought we had enough ball to win it.
“We need to work on our attack because we need to be better there.
“We need some more polish.”