NRL: Canberra hold off Parramatta revival

Chris Sandow of the Eels is tackled during the round 10 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Parramatta Eels. Photo / Getty Images.
Chris Sandow of the Eels is tackled during the round 10 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Parramatta Eels. Photo / Getty Images.

Canberra withstood a late Parramatta revival before narrowly securing a much-needed 40-34 NRL victory at Canberra Stadium today.

After trailing 24-6 at halftime, Parramatta looked out for the count late in the match, down 34-18 with 12 minutes to go before launching a desperate comeback.

Three quick tries to Ryan Morgan, Ken Sio and fit-again Chris Sandow had the wooden-spooners within two points with just three minutes left.

But the Raiders managed to just hang on, with Jack Wighton scoring in the corner just before the buzzer for a slightly more respectable 40-34 scoreline.

Canberra fullback Josh Dugan did his Origin selection chances no harm with a blistering man-of-the-match performance that overshadowed his key rival, Jarryd Hayne.

The win gives the Raiders their first in four games and lifts their own disappointing season from the doldrums, while it's the fifth defeat in a row for the Eels.

But coach Stephen Kearney can take some positives from the match, with Parramatta refusing to lie down when the game looked dusted and Sandow impressive in his first game back.

It came as no surprise that the Eels started the more desperate side after having to front angry members and supporters at their annual general meeting during the week.

They enjoyed a glut of possession in the opening 20 minutes to put first points on the board with Morgan's first try eight minutes in.

But Canberra were never out of touch and scored on their first opportunity down Parramatta's end in the 18th minute when Jarrod Croker set Reece Robinson up on the wing.

Then a spilled take by Ken Sio in the in-goal allowed Joel Thompson to easily give the Raiders the lead.

Up until then, Parramatta had been slowly leaking enthusiasm, but looked wholly dejected when winger Blake Ferguson took honours for the try of the afternoon.

He beat Morgan to a high ball and just pulled out of Nathan Hindmarsh's reach before running 80m and putting the Raiders two converted tries clear.

Another try to Josh Papalii had the Raiders confident at 24-6 heading into halftime, before Parramatta's last ditch effort.

They ended up scoring five tries in the second half - Morgan and Sio both scoring two each in total - compared to the Raiders' three in the final 40 minutes.


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