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Eels slither past Knights to confirm date with NRL finals

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10th August, 2019
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Parramatta have left Newcastle’s NRL finals hopes hanging by a thread after surviving a second-half onslaught to claim a 20-14 victory.

The Eels looked headed for a cruisy win on Saturday evening when they cantered to an 8-2 lead after 43 minutes without breaking a sweat.

But the Bankwest Stadium crowd of 20,671 were left stunned after the visitors burst to life and scored twice in seven minutes.

However, the Eels responded with two tries of their own, the second coming via winger Maika Sivo’s touchdown of a Dylan Brown grubber.

It would’ve been an emotional moment for the league’s leading tryscorer, who claimed his 16th four-pointer of the year with dad Joeli in the stands for his first NRL game.

The Knights pushed hard to steal the points at the death but eventually fell short to slump to their sixth-straight defeat.

With four games remaining in the regular season, Nathan Brown’s men are three points outside the top eight in 12th spot.

And they might finish four points adrift of eighth spot should the Wests Tigers defeat Canterbury later on Saturday night.

The Eels join Manly on 26 points but stay in sixth on points differential.

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However, coach Brad Arthur would have been buoyed by their gritty response to the Knights’ second-half ambush.

It came after producing a measured first-half display led by in-form halfback Mitchell Moses, who played a hand in their opening two tries.

The signs were ominous for the Knights from the moment Brad Takairangi’s individual brilliance swung momentum in the Eels’ favour.

The makeshift winger leaped for Moses’ cross-field kick and offloaded in the one motion for Gutherson to dive over in the corner.

From there, it was all Eels for the rest of the half, with a desperate cover tackle from Kalyn Ponga momentarily preventing a second for Gutherson.

The Eels’ fullback made it an 8-2 lead at the break with his second try when he swooped on a surprise Moses chip kick with Ponga defending in the frontline.

The Knights came back into the game with tries to Mitch Barnett and Shaun Kenny-Dowall, but the fightback was shortlived as the Eels closed the contest.

© AAP