Parramatta Eels survive second-half fightback from Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs to keep pace with NRL table toppers Penrith Panthers


Captain Clint Gutherson’s first-half double had the Eels on course for a comfortable win, but Bulldogs winger Jake Averillo scored one of the tries of the season as the off-contract Kieran Foran inspired Canterbury’s comeback.

The Bulldogs turned down a gift two points mid-way through the second half which would have levelled the scores and the Eels held firm in the final quarter to notch one of their ugliest wins of the year.

Clint Gutherson celebrates one of his first-half tries.

Clint Gutherson celebrates one of his first-half tries.Credit:Getty

Arthur played safety first with back-rower Ryan Matterson, who failed to finish the grudge match against the Tigers last round with a head knock. He’s expected to return against the Sharks next week.

Mitchell Moses was the man Des Hasler apparently didn’t want when the Tigers’ “big four” was on old chairman Ray Dib’s radar – and he’s still haunting them now.

The halfback is only a couple of weeks back from a calf problem, but looks every bit the man to take the Eels deep into October.

It took him less than seven minutes to open the scoring, charging onto a Junior Paulo offload.

And if it’s not the halfback causing the damage for the Eels, then it’s usually the fullback.

Gutherson finished the first half with a brace, the second from a Moses kick which sat up perfectly for the Parramatta talisman who was just more desperate than his rivals to get to the ball.

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Averillo’s Superman-like leap to touch down millimetres inside the corner post breathed life into the contest after the break, which was only fuelled when Marcelo Montoya crossed with almost half an hour left.

But the Eels stemmed the tide thereafter to stay on the heels of their western Sydney rivals Penrith.

PARRAMATTA EELS 18 (Clint Gutherson 2, Mitchell Moses tries; Moses 3 goals) defeated CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS 16 (Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Jake Averillo, Marcelo Montoya tries; Averillo 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Chris Sutton. Crowd: 5775.

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