NRL 2019: Undermanned Roosters hold off Parramatta Eels

An injury-hit Sydney Roosters side handed Parramatta their first defeat of the NRL season with a gritty 32-18 victory at ANZ Stadium.   

The lead changed five times in a willing opening hour on Friday night, including a 13-minute four-try blitz that saw the Eels go ahead by two points.   

But the defending premiers, who lost Jake Friend and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to injury during the match, drew on their big-game nous to finish strongly.

Victor Radley caught out a tiring Eels middle to burrow over in the 62nd minute, before Sio Siua Taukeiaho sealed the victory not long after.

James Tedesco, who was arguably the Roosters' best, put the icing on the cake with his second try in the closing stages.   

The Eels appeared on their way to a third straight win to start the year, when Maika Sivo scored his second try in the 59th minute.   

Sivo was one of the Parramatta's best, along with prop Junior Paulo, who set up two of his team's three tries with a powerhouse performance.   

But it wasn't enough, as Trent Robinson's slow-burning side, also without the injured Cooper Cronk, came to life with a dominant final quarter.   

A points-fest seemed on the cards, when Blake Ferguson and Tedesco traded tries inside the opening 10 minutes.   

Much of the build-up had centred on Ferguson's first match against his former club and the in-form winger delivered with the opening points.   

But the Roosters pulled back a gear in an attempt to wear the Eels out, opting for two penalty goals for an 8-6 halftime lead.   

That approach seemed to have cost them, when they lost Friend to a shoulder issue and Waerea-Hargreaves to a rib complaint either side of the break.   

Sivo then crossed for his first to turn a two-point deficit into a four-point lead.

But the Roosters fought back through Mitchell Aubusson, before being forced to come back from behind again to record their second win of the season.   

AAP

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