This is the sixth article in a series naming each club’s best team of loyal stalwarts. Not necessarily just those one-club players but those who turned out for the club over a long period and helped build its success and culture.
Parramatta got the win they so desperately needed but not all their prayers were answered with Maika Sivo injured in their 32-16 victory over North Queensland.
Desperately needing a victory before the finals after Brad Arthur admitted he’d been embarrassed, Parramatta were far from perfect against the struggling Cowboys.
But they were good enough to snap their four-game losing streak, taking the lead early and never relinquishing it on the Gold Coast.
Mitch Moses enjoyed his best game since fracturing his back in State of Origin, as the halfback set up three tries and kicked superbly to force just as many repeat sets.
Clint Gutherson also bagged his first try in more than two months, with his four-pointer the highlight of the night after Moses put Haze Dunster away and he kicked back inside for the fullback.
But it wasn’t all rosy for the Eels.
They completed at just 70 per cent, making nine errors in the first half alone.
Nathan Brown was put on report for a crusher tackle on Reuben Cotter, with any charge set to rule him out for at least one match.
Hooker Joey Lussick was also picked up for dangerous contact, meaning the Eels risk taking another hit at dummy-half if he is suspended.
But Sivo is the biggest concern, with the star winger on crutches after his knee was twisted in a tackle.
The Eels fear he has suffered medial ligament damage, putting the rest of his season in serious doubt.
The only positive for the Eels ist that Blake Ferguson is approaching fitness again, and could be called in to replace Sivo after battling his own form and injury issues this year.
Sivo had earlier set up the Eels’ first try, getting a ball back in to Waqa Blake to score after the centre had initially batted it onto him.
Moses then entered the fray, breaking down field to put Will Penisini over for his first NRL try before setting up Shaun Lane just before the break.
The half also bombed late for a Dylan Brown try, after Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow couldn’t handle the high ball.
The win keeps the Eels’ faint top-four hopes alive, but more importantly gives them a boost before games against Melbourne and Penrith to finish the season.
The Eels’ problems however have nothing on the Cowboys’ issues.
North Queensland have now lost ten straight, just three games shy of the club’s all-time worst streak.
They were in the game at 10-6 down when Heilum Luki ran onto a deft ball from Mitchell Dunn, but it slipped away from them just before and after halftime.