NRL: Eels farewell home ground in style with thrashing of Dragons

Bevan French of the Eels scores a try during the round 25 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the St George Illawarra Dragons. Photo / Getty
Bevan French of the Eels scores a try during the round 25 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the St George Illawarra Dragons. Photo / Getty

They were saying goodbye to the past, but they also got a glimpse of the future.

Parramatta farewelled Pirtek Stadium in style on Monday, with a hat-trick of tries to fullback-in waiting Bevan French leading the Eels to a 30-18 win over St George Illawarra.

In the final NRL fixture at the western Sydney venue before it undergoes a reconstruction at the end of the year, a hearty crowd of 13,553 departed with a special memento.

French scored twice in the first half to help his team to a 12-6 lead at the break, however it was a special third that showed why coach Brad Arthur has handed him the No.1 jumper for much of the past month.What began with a Tim Mannah offload on the 50-metre line turned into Brad Takairangi breaking free out wide, before a sharp kick in-field found a flying French to complete his hat-trick in the 62nd minute.

Veteran Michael Gordon also signed off from his final home game as an Eel with a second half try and a perfect five goals from five attempts to finish with a personal haul of 14 points.

By then the Eels had a commanding 30-6 lead.

Dragons winger Kurt Mann nabbed two consolation tries late, but it was yet another disappointing performance from the Dragons, who slumped to their seventh loss in eight games.

It was just the second time they scored more than two tries over that span.

Not even the introduction of youngster Drew Hutchison could spark their flailing attack.

Called into the team for axed veteran Benji Marshall, the 21-year-old took control of most of the team's kicking but played behind a badly beaten forward pack that spent most of the game in its own territory.

Compounding the defeat was a second-half ankle injury to forward Tariq Sims. Tyson Frizell came from the field with a knee injury in the first half but retired with an ankle injury in the second.

The match was also the final Monday night NRL game.Eels coach Brad Arthur was typically upset with the way his team slackened off late in the game but was nonetheless proud of yet another distinguished performance in what has been a scandalous year.

"I know I keep saying it, but there hasn't been a lot for them to want to play for," he said.

"But they've still managed to keep hanging in there and playing for each other. We played some really good footy tonight. The defence was great for the majority of the game.

"We built pressure on the back of our defence. It was just unfortunate that it has to end like this. I think we're a good enough team, we should be playing semi-final football."

Dragons coach Paul McGregor confirmed Sims would miss the final game of the season after aggravating a recurring ankle injury, while scans would be needed to determine the severity of Frizell's concerns.

"He wanted to keep playing but from my eyes he was limping around a little bit and I didn't want to put a player out there that was a passenger," he said.

"He's too valuable to put out there busted so we took him off. We'll have a look at him tonight and tomorrow and see how we go."

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