Eels halves light up in big win over Dragons

Superb performances fram Eels halves Mitch Moses and Dylan Brown have guided their side to a big 48-14 win over the Dragons at CommBank Stadium.

The Eels made a statement with their early sets, dominating the Dragons physically, capitalising when Dylan Brown danced past Moses Mbye and Jack Gosiewski to open the scoring.

Mitch Moses noticed Mbye well out of position to kick ahead and score himself to make it 12-0 after 17 minutes, but the Eels seemed to let their foot off the gas for a period thereafter. 

Jack Bird finished off an enterprising Dragons try late in the half with a late penalty goal making it 12-8 at the break.

Eels coach Brad Arthur's half time speech must have worked because the blue-and-golds exploded out of the blocks after half time.

Nathan Brown touched down when the Dragons couldn't clean up a Moses short kick in the 44th, then some wonderful lead up work from Moses finished with a brilliant kick ahead for Reed Mahoney to score in the 52nd.

It became back-to-back tries when Will Penisini split Moses Suli and Mikaele Ravalawa to set up Clint Gutherson two minutes later then Waqa Blake stripped Zam Lomax and ran the length to make it 36-8 with 20 to play. 

A floating Dylan Brown pass handed Blake his second before Tariq Sims clawed on back when he crashed over. 

The Eels had one more highlight reel moment in them as Bryce Cartwright produced a flick pass for the ages to hand Moses his second and cap off a 48-14 win. 

Match snapshot

  • Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown's purple patch continued; the 21-year-old playmaker played arguably the best game of his career in last week's win over the Storm and was almost as good again, with a wonderful solo try to start proceedings and causing headaches with every touch. 
  • Anthony Griffin pulled off huge changes to his team's playmaking structure. While Jack Bird was involved and dangerous at five-eighth, Moses Mbye had a tough outing at fullback on both sides of the ball and was caught out of position several times, including for Mitch Moses's try. 
  • Speaking of Moses, he had the ball on a string with pinpoint kicks for both himself and Mahoney to score crucial tries to go with a perfect eight from eight off the tee - most from out wide. 
  • After three straight heart-stoppers to start the year the Eels finally played in a match that wasn't decided in the final moments, and repaired their worrying defensive figures in the process.
  • Waqa Blake has been forced from centre to wing by the Eels' injury crisis but may have found a permanent spot out wide after a dominant showing on the flank with two tries and over 200 metres.
  • A frustrated Blake Lawrie was put on report for working over Bailey Simonsson on the ground in the final minutes, while Francis Molo was also put on report in the first half. 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Play of the game
Almost every try in the match was a highlight reel special but for pure vision, Mitch Moses's kick ahead for himself in the 17th minute after spotting space at the back is as good as 'eyes-up footy' gets. 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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What they said
"We knew they were going to come out and really give it to us, they have the last few years. We knew we had to wait and we'd eventually get them. That second half when we kicked to the corners and didn't give them cheap ball we knew we were going to roll them." - Eels captain Clint Gutherson

"They blew us away in the second half. The first half we did a really good job to come in, I thought we were on top when we came in and did an enormous job defending our own line and were a bit unlucky not to be in front at half time. The second half we started poor and to their credit they were really good, every time they got an opportunity they made us pay." - Dragons coach Anthony Griffin.

What's next
The Eels head up to the Gold Coast to take on the Titans next Saturday night as they look to consolidate their top four billing. 

The Dragons have a tough clash next Saturday evening against last year's grand finalists the Rabbitohs. 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Story first published on NRL.com

Link to original story

Author: 
Chris Kennedy, NRL.com Reporter