|Match Date||2nd Jun, 2000|
|Venue||Parramatta (Parramatta Stadium)|
PARRAMATTA coach Brian Smith said he felt like dancing but the face of his Bulldogs rival Steve Folkes suggested he was definitely in no mood to party.
The cause of Smith's celebration - and Folke’s misery - was a 60 metre try to Eels winger Pat Richards in the 71st minute that swung the momentum in favour of the home side and ultimately sealed the Bulldogs fate.
The try was Richard’s second for the night and took the Eels to a comfortable 19-12 lead but it was the lead up play which caused Folke’s grief.
Eels lock Jim Dymock had appeared to pass off the ground to team mate Luke Burt before Richards scored and video referee John Gocher looked at countless replays before awarding the try.
"I didn't realise we were playing rugby union." Folkes said after the game. "His progress was halted and that means you can lay on the back forever and throw the ball in the air, if the arm carrying the ball doesn't touch the ground."
Gocher defended his decision to award the try after the game saying Dymock's arm was still off the ground and the tackle had not been completed.
The decision could have gone either way but the result definitely shifted momentum in favour of the Eels, who raced away with the match after a late try to fullback Clinton Schifcofske.
After having several crucial video referee decision go against his side this season, Smith was positively happy about having one finally go in his favour.
"Everybody stand up and dance, I did" Smith said. "It was one of those split decisions but probably technically I think the video ref was probably right.
"Obviously the arm with the ball in it wasn't in question, it was just a matter of whether his progress had been completely held.
"I think if you did a scientific study on it, you'd probably find he had another inch of momentum going when he let go of the ball."
Smith said the call did not affect the outcome of the game but did swing the momentum In favour of his side at the time. That had not always been the case throughout the game as the Bulldogs raced to an early 12-2 lead.
The Eels pegged one back just before the break after quick hands put Nathan Hindmarsh through a huge gap but Eels captain Nathan Cayless said the team was called on to produce something special In the second half.
"He basically said we were pretty soft in the first half so we just made a commitment to each other in the second hall and I think we really toughened up." Cayless said.
'The Bulldogs tried to play us in the forwards and they probably dominated us in the first half but the second half I thought we got a bit of our own back."
The win cemented the Eel’s spot in the top eight but put the Bulldogs finals hopes in jeopardy, a point Folkes was well aware of after the game.
"That was probably a four point ball game with them being level." Folkes said. "We're going to have to win a couple more than them in the run home."
The Eels loss was soured after five eighth David Penna was assisted from the field with a leg injury.
match focus had been on Bulldogs winger DaryI Halligan who before kickoff was
only 14 points away from breaking Michael Cronin's pointscoring record (1971)
but fans will have to wait another week or so for him to break that record.
Halligan's only points came through two shots at goal, although he was denied a try through some tenacious Parramatta defence.Source: The Australian
|Hazem El Masri||Centre||1||0||0||4|
|Shane Perry||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Brent Sherwin||Half Back||0||0||0||0|
|Steve Price||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Bradley Clyde||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Dennis Scott||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Darren Britt||Front Row||0||0||0||0|