|Match Date||4th Mar, 2000|
|Venue||Homebush (Stadium Australia)|
THE guile of "thirty some-things" Rod Silva, Ricky Stuart and Brad Clyde led Canterbury to a hard-fought win over Parramatta last night.
Canterbury's three wise men, all of whom admit to being in their early 30s, sent the Eels plummeting to their fourth loss in five starts.
The trio all made significant contributions to a typically rugged Bulldogs-Eels derby that wasn't decided until the final two minutes.
"It was a real struggle," Stuart said later, his right eye so badly swollen he could barely see.
"They made us fight for the points and the encouraging thing is we didn't really play well and still took the points."
Parramatta were desperately unlucky not to level the scores in the dying stages when Canterbury were clinging to an 18-12 lead.
Eels lock Jim Dymock broke into the clear with men in support but was flattened by a ferocious tackle from Bulldog centre Darren Smith.
The Bulldogs then worked play downfield, with young hooker Adam Perry plunging over to seal the game.
"That passage of play just about summed up the night for us," said Eels coach Brian Smith.
"We kept throwing stuff at the Bulldogs but they kept holding us out."
Smith insists there is no need for panic in the Eels camp despite the club having just two points after five rounds.
"In every game we have been brought undone by either a dud call or bad luck," he said.
"The players didn't lose me with the effort they gave and anyone they did lose is probably not worth having.
"Confidence in the camp is still high and when we get all our players back on deck, look out."
The Eels, who lost three players in the past 24 hours, have had a trying week.
"On Wednesday we only had 14 of our 25 players available to train," Smith said.
"Then we lost Gary Larson early in the game and had a few other setbacks.
"It is a testing time for us but we are sticking together."
Bulldogs coach Steve Polkes was not overly impressed with his team's execution in a trench warfare-style battle.
"I couldn't fault the effort but we were well below our best," he said.
"We panicked at times, turned the ball over and didn't have a great kicking game.
"But all in all I'm happy ... we did well to hold Parra out and gutsed out a good win."
Silva was again in great form for the Bulldogs, scoring a try and proving safe under intense pressure in a slogging match.
Clyde produced a fine offload for winger Hazem El Masri's try midway through the second half and Stuart's experience proved invaluable at vital stages of a tense encounter.
The Eels face a further worry with young forwards Nathan Hindmarsh and Andrew Ryan on report for a lifting tackle.
NRL officials will decide tomorrow if they have a case to answer.Source: The Sunday Telegraph
|Hazem El Masri||Wing||1||0||0||4|
|Corey Hughes||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Ricky Stuart||Half Back||0||0||0||0|
|Dennis Scott||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Bradley Clyde||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Troy Stone||Front Row||0||0||0||0|
|Darren Britt||Front Row||0||0||0||0|