The Eels beat the Warriors 28-18 thanks to a masterclass from Reed Mahoney, despite some promising signs from the Warriors.
Mahoney produced a brilliant performance to set up two crucial tries which ultimately made the difference between the two teams, but his temper and kicking game were just as good.
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Waqa Blake drove through a gaping hole from close range to give the Eels a 4-0 lead after an early period of dominance.
The Warriors looked certain to score before a Maika Sivo interception saw the Eels go coast to coast for Blake to score his second in 10 minutes.
The Warriors finally got on the board with Marcelo Montoya diving into the corner to cut the deficit before halftime.
Isaiah Papali’i crashed from close range to extend the Eels’ lead and bring it within one of Parramatta’s top try scorers for 2022 with his eighth four, one behind Clint Gutherson.
Gutherson jumped on a loose ball for an opportunistic attempt to put the Eels in the box with 20 to play.
Sivo scored a brilliant long-range try to break the hearts of the Warriors, who faded late in the contest.
However, the Warriors got two consolation tries over Edward Kosi and Jack Murchie to add deserved respectability to the contest given how close the game was for most of the 80 minutes.
Here are the main takeaways from the game.
EELS NEED MAHONEY TO BACKFLIP ON BULLDOGS
The Eels are hoping Reed Mahoney emulates teammate Isaiah Papali’i and backflips his contract with the Bulldogs because he’s arguably their best player right now.
Mahoney had 20 yards rushing, two assists, two assists and 34 tackles with just one miss in a masterclass against the Warriors.
Mahoney deserves a lot of credit for relieving his halves and opening the field for his wider men to work their magic.
The gifted rake set up the first try of the night for Waqa Blake with a perfectly timed pass across the face of the try line so his cross could wander.
His second try saw him turn Isaiah Papali’i into a gaping hole and he crashed to end the Warriors fightback.
“Well, he was good tonight, Reed Mahoney,” Dan Ginnane said.
“He deserved an early shower.”
Michael Ennis and Benji Marshall praised Mahoney for his performance after the match.
“Mahoney off the dummy and Mitchell Moses combined beautifully tonight,” Ennis said.
Marshall thinks the Eels will miss Mahony next season.
“Reed Mahoney is going to be a big loss next season,” Marshall said.
“When they talk about this premiership window for Parramatta, I feel like Reed Mahoney is a key cog.
“He’s such a big effort player and he doesn’t get a lot of credit for his efforts.”
Ennis supported Marshall’s feelings about prostitute Eels.
“He’s one of the elite hookers in the game,” Ennis said.
“Hearing Mal Meninga, the Australian manager, say he’s absolutely on his radar.
“He builds his game on effort. Tonight, a few of his kicks were so important. He had a great variety.
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BLAKE AND SIVO COMBINE TO BURN WARRIORS
The Warriors got the better of the competition for most of the night, but the class and speed of Maika Sivo and Waqa Blake combined to ensure the Eels kept them out of reach.
Sivo finished with 167 yards, four tackle jumps, a line break, a try assist and a try, while Blake had 131 yards, a line break and a sleek double.
Michael Ennis believes it took Sivo’s interception and an assist attempt for Blake in the first half to split two evenly matched teams.
“It was really hard to split the teams in the first half, it was just a moment of brilliance from Maika Sivo,” Ennis said.
“He positioned himself beautifully and got into that passing range of Shaun Johnson, who did a terrific job of holding Harris-Tavita back and handed the ball to Waqa Blake who landed his second try of the night. .
“The backs of eels are so unpredictable.”
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BRAVE WARRIORS IN DEFEAT
The Warriors may have gone downhill against the Eels, but after their win over the Tigers they showed their fans there was light at the end of the tunnel.
The Warriors trailed just 10-6 at halftime and had it not been for a Maika Sivo interception, they could have taken the lead.
Then the Eels looked set to run away in the second half at 28-6, before two late tries showed the Warriors would not make it into games in the second half of the year.
Benji Marshall thinks the Warriors’ first game at home against the Tigers was the catalyst to change their attitude for the end of the season.
“I thought the Warriors had a real change of attitude in their last game winning 22-2 over the Tigers, which really gave them their best,” Marshall said.
“Tonight they tied set for set with Parramatta, who are a very good team to improve the game of football.”
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