A spirited Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles fought gallantly in their 26-6 loss to the Parramatta Eels at CommBank Stadium tonight in round 11 of the NSW Cup.
In a match played in wet conditions, Blacktown Workers turned in a gutsy first half performance to lead 6-4 at half-time before the Eels rallied late to pull away for their win.
The Eels were denied twice in the fifth minute thanks to some great defensiove efforts on both sides of the field by Blacktown Workers.
Parramatta bombed a certain try in the eighth minute when centre Zac Cini chose to hold onto the ball and take the tackle instead of offloading to an unmarked Jake Arthur.
Blacktown Workers fullback Jake Toby did well to deny the Eels a try in the 13th minute after gathering up a loose ball before the visitors were rewarded for their hard work when winger Raymond Vaega raced 80 metres to score for a 4-0 lead.
The Eels were once again denied a chance down their left edge with just over 10 minutes remaining in the half. The returning Maika Sivo went streaming down the sideline and had a chance to pop the ball inside, only for Toby to bat the ball towards the in-goal and then over the dead ball line.
The compact defence of Blacktown's finally cracked in the 35th minute when Parramatta second-rower Elie El-Zakhem crash through defenders to score in the corner for a 4-all scoreline.
Toby gave Blacktown Workers a 6-4 lead at half-time after kicking a penalty goal after a late tackle on halfback Ben Stevanovic.
Parramatta scored three minutes into the second half through Maika Sivo in the left corner. Fullback Jordan Rankin converted from the sideline to regain a 10-6 lead.
The Eels were mounting some pressure with continuous sets and dived over in the 60th minute through prop Wiremu Greig for their third try. Rankin converted to extend the lead to 14-6.
Sivo grabbed his second in the corner after a good shift from Parramatta. Rankin successfully converted from the sideline for a 20-6 lead.
Blacktown were denied an almost stunning try in the 70th minute after some quick hands by Toby and James Segeyaro saw winger Bilal Maarbani dragged down inches from the line.
The Eels then scored a minute later through winger Sean Russell after a break down the left flank, ending with a combination of passes from Sivo and Rankin to send Russell over for a 26-6 lead.
Blacktown will now play Mounties at Aubrey Keech Reserve, Hinchinbrook, on Sunday, May 29, at 3pm.