Fulltime: CANTERBURY 20 PARRAMATTA 16: Well, a game that was loose in the first half became a scoreless dogfight in the second. Michael Ennis almost scored on the bell but Sam Perrett put a foot into touch in the lead-up. “It was disappointing in the second half with some of the errors,” said captain Ennis. A pretty good game for so early in the season. ‘They’re going to be a handful this year, Parramatta,” the hooker added.
68 min: Jarryd Hayne throws a Harbour Bridge forward pass to Cheyse Blair with the line open. Well called by the other Hayne, Shayne. Canterbury’s Tony Williams then throws and even more blatant NFL pass. 16-20.
64 min: I think it’s fair to say Parramatta are going to be pretty handy this year under Ricky Stuart and won;t be alsorans. OK, there are some handy players – Barba, Pritchard, Graham – missing from the Bulldogs line-up tonight but the Eels have more spark than their rivals in this second half. 16-20.
57 min: Not a game of basketball anymore. It’s settled down into a nice, tense battle. Jarryd Hayne has a minor ankle injury but is playing on. Reni Maitua also has an ankle injury. Fatigue is starting to play a role with Canterbury playing somewhat conservatively. 16-20
Halftime: CANTERBURY 20 PARRAMATTA 16. What can you say about this? It’s a game of basketball. Both coaches take pride in their defence but there’s not much to take pride in here. Canterbury seem marginally more creative and unless the defences tighten up, creativity is going to decide this game. Lots of entertainment, not much intensity. For mine, Darcy Lussick is in trouble and Chris Sandow did not use a shoulder charge.
38 min: Josh Morris loses the ball 10 metres from Canterbury’s line, Cheyse Blair ends up scoring. Did Chris Sandow use a shoulder charge on Morris? The video referees said no. Shayne Hayne tells Michael Ennis “he does use his shoulder but he’s making a tackling action. The try is awarded. Sandow converts from the touchline. 16-20.
30 min: Canterbury break service with Sam Perrett flying over Vai Toutai to claim a kick and touch down one-handed. Darcy Lussick has caught Dale Funicane high and is on report. Looked nasty but Annette Funicello was falling. 10-20.
21 min: What’s this? An under 20s game? Josh Reynolds gets into the clear and just keeps going from 40 metres out, evading the cover defence with a king-sized dummy. Inu goals from out near the sideline. 10-16.
17 min: Cheyse Blair is over in the corner but we have to wait for a decision to come out of a KFC bucket on the big screen. “Gee, that KFC bucket is slow,” says one of the referees. 10-10.
15 min: “This is gonna be a shootout” – (c) Andrew Webster. There seems to be a lot of “you score, we score” football being played early in the season. Chris Sandow’s bomb comes off Mitch Brown’s shoulder and Sandow converts. 6-10.
8 min: After Jarryd Hayne’s kick-off goals out on the full, Canterbury are in again with Kris Keating and Jackson combine and Mitch Brown is in inside the corner post. 0-10
5 min: Quick thinking from Michael Ennis to grubber ahead, almost on the half-volley, and Josh Jackson is in for the first try of the game, Inu converts. Parra kick out on the full from the restart. What’s doing with Sportsears? Referees but no commentary. 0-6
Pre-game: Steve Turner is out of the Canterbury side with knee soreness while Vai Toutai comes onto the the wing for Parramatta. Ben Roberts starts. The forecast crowd was 28,000 but it’s a fair way short of that, right now. I’d say 20,000.
Final team lists:
PARRAMATTA; Jarryd Hayne; Vai Toutai, Ryan Morgan, Jocob Loco, Cheyse Blair; Ben Roberts, Chris Sandow; Ben Smith, Matthew Ryan, Reni Maitua (c), Tim Mannah, Matt Keating, Mitchell Allgood. Res: Joseph Paulo, Darcy Lussick, FuiFui MoiMoi, Kelepi Tanginoa.
CANTERBURY: Drury Low; Mitch Brown, Josh Morris, Krisnan Inu, Sam Perrett; Josh Reynolds, Kris Keating; Greg Eastwood, Josh Jackson Tony Williams, Martin Taupau, Mick Ennis (c), Aiden Tolman. Res: Dene Halatau, Dale Funicane, David Klemmer, Tim Browne.
Referees: Shayne Hayne/Alan Shortall