The Eels started the match strongly, taking advantage of a flow of penalties and Cowboys errors to take an early 8-0 lead thanks to a try and two goals from returning fullback Luke Burt. The Eels were controlling their possession nicely and capitalised further with a try to winger Tony Williams in the 26th minute, giving them a healthy 14-0 advantage.
The Cowboys showed a brief glimpse of a fightback when John Williams crossed out wide in the 30th minute and continued to press for the remainder of the first half, but the Eels were able to hold on for a 14-4 halftime lead.
Neither team troubled the scorers during a flat second half until Luke Burt extended the Parramatta advantage to 12 points in the 71st minute. The Cowboys tried valiantly to add to their score as the match drew to a close but the Parramatta defence held firm.
Match Details Parramatta Eels 16 def North Queensland Cowboys 4 Round 20 - Friday July 25th, 2008 7:35pm Venue: Parramatta Stadium Referee: Steve Lyons Touch Judges: Phil Haines, Russell Turner Video Referee: Chris Ward Halftime: Parramatta Eels 14 North Queensland Cowboys 4 Crowd: 7,253
North Queensland Cowboys 4 Tries: John Williams Goals: John Williams (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Nathan Cayless (Eels) 2 Points: Tony Williams (Eels) 1 Point: Carl Webb (Cowboys)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to Parramatta Stadium for tonights clash between two sides who have had seasons they'd rather forget so far. The Eels still have the faintest glimmer of hope to salvage something out of this year, and for that to happen they'll obviously need to have a win here tonight.
There have been a couple of changes for both teams ... here are the confirmed line-ups:
EELS: Luke Burt, Taulima Tautai, Jarryd Hayne, Krisnan Inu, Tony Williams; Kris Keating, Brett Finch; Nathan Cayless (c), Matt Keating, Fuifui Moimoi, Nathan Hindmarsh, Daniel Wagon, Chad Robinson Interchange: Mark Riddell, Todd Lowrie, Joe Galuvao, Broderick Wright
COWBOYS: Jackson Nicolau, Ty Williams, Mark Henry, Ben Harris, John Williams; Travis Burns, Aaron Payne (c); Carl Webb, George Gatis, Shane Tronc, Sione Faumuina, Dayne Weston, Steve Southern Interchange: Ben Farrar, Luke Harlen, Ben Vaeau, Ray Cashmere
KICKOFF - We're underway!
3 min: VIDEO REF - possible Eels try ...
3 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Brett Finch grubbers ahead, Aaron Payne can't clean it up and Luke Burt makes the most of his late inclusion into this match by opening the scoring tonight. Buet also converts his own try for good measure. Parramatta Eels 6-0
9 min: Jarryd Hayne makes a half-break before being collared by a lazy arm from Ty Williams and falling over with remarkable ease ...
14 min: Travis Burns hoists a high bomb towards the Parramatta goal-line but there's no chase to speak of, allowing Taulima Tautai to claim the ball easily and make good metres with the return.
16 min: Chad Robinson crosses the line after chasing a Nathan Hindmarsh kick (!) but Jarryd Hayne is ruled to have knocked-on earlier in the play.
18 min: Parramatta are dominating possession at the moment, mainly thanks to a 5-0 penalty count in their favour.
23 min: Dayne Weston cleans up Nathan Cayless with a great tackle.
26 min: TRY Parramatta Eels Parramatta take full advantage of a goal-line drop out as Tony Williams receives the ball out wide and weaves his way through a few (soft) Cowboys defenders to score. Conversion attempt by Luke Burt successful. Parramatta Eels 14-0
30 min: TRY North Queensland Cowboys The Cowboys hit straight back through their own Williams as John crosses for the visitors first points of the night after taking a basketball-style pass from Sione Faumuina out wide. Conversion attempt by John Williams unsuccessful. Parramatta Eels 14-4
32 min: Taulima Tautai knocks-on in front of his own posts without a defender in sight.
34 min: VIDEO REF - possible Cowboys try ...
34 min: NO TRY - Sione Faumuina has lost possession while trying to force the ball.
HALFTIME: Parramatta Eels 14 North Queensland Cowboys 4 The Eels have made the most of their possession advantages to hold a 10 point halftime lead and should be able to go on with it here against a weakened Cowboys outfit.
The second half is underway!
48 min: No change to the halftime score so far with both teams making a solid start to the second forty.
51 min: VIDEO REF - possible Cowboys try
51 min: NO TRY - Carl Webb forces his way over the line with three Eels defenders hanging off him, but he's unable to get the ball down.
60 min: The Cowboys are working themselves back into this match as the penalty count (now 6-4 to the Eels) evens up.
67 min: VIDEO REF - possible Eels try ...
77 min: VIDEO REF - possible Cowboys try ...
77 min: NO TRY - John Williams is held up over the line by some desperate Parramatta defence.
A pretty uninspiring match all up. The Eels keep their heads above water for another week, but it would be very surprising if they progressed any further in this competition than their opponents tonight.