Young half Luke Metcalf enjoyed a breakout game on Saturday night as the Warriors ran riot in a 46-10 victory over the Eels in Sydney.
While the talk all week was about whether or not Shaun Johnson would play, it was his halves partner who stole the show at CommBank Stadium, scoring a first-half double and playing key role in setting up both of Marcelo Montoya's four-pointers which were sandwiched in between.
Led by Jackson Ford, Mitchell Barnett and Addin Fonua-Blake, who was playing his 150th game, the Warriors dominated the middle of the park and all up ran for over 400 metres more than Parramatta, who were without three key players due to selection in Origin III.
After a sloppy opening quarter, which included completing just five of their first 12 sets with the ball, the Warriors finished with a hiss and a roar to lead 30-4 at the break.
After putting Ford through for a line break, Metcalf backed up on the next tackle to score, before the Eels hit back through a spirited run from Bailey Simonsson directly off a scrum.
Metcalf slices through
That would end up being Parra's only joy of the opening half, with a quickfire double from Montoya, a second to Metcalf and a try for Dylan Walker in game 200 seeing the visitors race away on the scoreboard.
Barnett barged over eight minutes into the second half, followed by Dallin Watene-Zelezniak grabbing his 11th try in seven games with a trademark finish in the right corner.
An offside penalty on a Warriors dropout led to the Eels scoring their second try on 66 minutes, with Shaun Lane crashing over in his return from a hamstring injury.
The Warriors are turning it on
Barnett then carried fill-in fullback Sean Russell over from close range for his second try and the last of the game.
Match: Eels v Warriors
Round 19 -
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
- The victory was the Warriors' biggest winning margin of the year and their second highest points tally in a game this season.
- Warriors interchange forward Dylan Walker suffered a game-ending arm injury, while Bayley Sironen limped from the field late as well.
- Parramatta forwards Shaun Lane, Andrew Davey and Bryce Cartwright all went on report.
- Joe Ofahengaue left the field with a knee injury 17 minutes from full-time and failed to return, but initial reports suggested it was not serious.
- Jackson Ford topped the game for run metres with 194 and made a team-high 33 tackles.
- It was the Warriors' first win in five games against the Eels and their first ever win at CommBank Stadium.
- Mitchell Barnett scored a second-half double, made three line breaks and ran for 183 metres.
Barnett gets a double
- The Eels have not won without Clint Gutherson since 2017.
- Eels winger Maika Sivo made his 100th NRL appearance in the game.
- Walker marked his 200th game with a try, while Addin Fonua-Blake (150 games), Wayde Egan (100 games) and Shaun Johnson (200 games for the Warriors) also celebrated milestones.
The milestone man scores
Play of the Game
A trademark finish from the Flying Mullett for his 11th try in seven games this season. After planting the ball down, DWZ gave a photographer an up close and personal view as he accidentally collected him.
DWZ doing what DWZ does
What They Said
"We can't take anything away from the Warriors just because we had a couple [of players] missing, they played really well. I am disappointed in the performance, I thought we put a good enough team out there to be better than that. It doesn't matter who we have got out there... they were going through the line untouched on a couple of occasions." – Eels coach Brad Arthur.
Eels: Round 19
"There was so much that I loved [about the performance]. I thought the first 20 minutes we weren't real smart, we looked the better side but we weren't executing... I thought the last 20 minutes of the first half we were really ruthless. I thought Luke [Metcalf] was good, I thought the best part was how reliable it was... he had a couple of really good plays there." – Warriors coach Andrew Webster.
Warriors: Round 19
Both sides are back in action next Sunday, with the Eels hoping to have their Origin contingent back on deck for a home clash against the Titans and the Warriors back in Auckland to face the Sharks, with Te Maire Martin a chance of being available again.