A Vodafone Warriors second half comeback fell just short as an injury-hit Parramatta clung on to win 32-24 in tonight's 13th-round NRL match at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Looking for their first away win of the season, the Vodafone Warriors thundered back from a 12-26 deficit to trail just 24-26 with nine minutes left after a stunning, stepping try from captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck but couldn't find a winning try.
Instead it was the Eels who withstood the onslaught as they benefited from Vodafone Warriors errors and relieving penalties to find a way out of their end.
Not only that, they were able to put the result to bed with a Clint Gutherson try in the final moments to leave the Vodafone Warriors still winless on the road.
Both sides were coming off success in the 12th round but the Eels made all the early play.
Just minutes in after a penalty, they created space on the right for Tepai Moeroa to send centre Kirisome Auva'a over out wide with Gutherson converting for a 6-0 lead.
A long break by Gutherson down the left edge set Parramatta up for more success in the 10th minute, shifting the ball across field to the right for former Kiwi international Josh Hoffman to cross. Gutherson's conversion was again superb to make it 12-0.
The Vodafone Warriors not only needed to check Parramatta's flow of points but had to be the next to score. They succeeded on both fronts, stopping the bleeding and then putting together some precision football on the back of a penalty.
The opportunity came 19 minutes in when they shaped left, Issac Luke clearing from dummy half to ex-Parramatta Eel Kieran Foran who held his pass up beautifully to create the biggest hole imaginable for Simon Mannering to coast into for his 60th career try (third equal on the club's all-time list with Francis Meli behind Manu Vatuvei on 152 and Stacey Jones on 77).
Johnson's conversion cut the damage to 6-12 - and just seven minutes later they were level at 12-12.
Again they opened up the Eels on a repeat set after a penalty, sweeping to their left with a nice ball from Mannering and a wonderful flick on from Johnson - swinging around from his customary right-side position - giving big Ken Maumalo a sight of the corner. He stretched out, held Bevan French off and got the ball down brilliantly with Johnson on target again with the conversion .
The Vodafone Warriors pressed once more, this time heading to their right but Johnson's intended grubber through the defensive line was blocked, flicked up by David Gower to Gutherson and he released the potent Semi Radradra on a scorching 80-metre run for a try against the run of play. With Gutherson's conversion the home side was up 18-12 after 33 minutes, holding on until halftime.
While leading, Parramatta was down to just two fit players on the bench after Josh Hoffman and hooker Kaysa Pritchard were forced off with injuries. That would become just one player during the second half.
Despite being low on resources, the Eels had most of the running in the early stages of the second half, going out to a 26-12 lead through a Gutherson penalty and then a converted Moeroa try.
The Vodafone Warriors stuck to their work, though, building pressure and making inroads.
The profit came through a great Foran ball putting Ryan Hoffman over and then Tuivasa-Sheck's electric feet getting him across the line in the 71st minute.
At 24-26 there was every chance of completing a memorable comeback win but the critical errors and penalties conceded in the stretch proved terminal as Parramatta withstood the heat and finished off the night with Gutherson's try.
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Parramatta Eels 32 (Kirisome Auva'a, Josh Hoffman, Semi Radradra, Tepai Moeroa, Clint Gutherson tries; Clint Gutherson 4 conversions, penalty).
Vodafone Warriors 24 (Simon Mannering, Ken Maumalo, Ryan Hoffman, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck tries; Shaun Johnson 4 conversions).
Halftime: 18-12 Eels.
Referees: Ashley Klein and Chris Sutton.
Vodafone Warriors | Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c); David Fusitu'a, Blake Ayshford, Solomone Kata, Ken Maumalo; Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson; Ben Matulino, Issac Luke, James Gavet; Bodene Thompson, Ryan Hoffman; Simon Mannering. Interchange: Nathaniel Roache, Sam Lisone, Albert Vete, Jacob Lillyman.