Knowing that Parramatta are a team that everyone is expecting improved things from this season, 1st grade were far from complacent and extremely determined to get our first competition points for the season.
Despite a mixed start, we managed to score first from a well worked scrum play with fullback Tom Pincus finding a determined wingman in Charlie Clifton who finished strongly for an early 5-0 lead. This was stretched to 12-0 when Tom Pincus hit a great line off a ball thrown by brother Joe to score but Parr bounced back with a penalty conversion followed by a try from driving maul and it was 12-8 moments before half time only for Tom Pincus to kick a penalty for a 15-8 half time lead.
This was clearly not enough and when Parramatta came out in the second with an obvious intent to hold possession and attack our smaller men with their bigger back row, we were called on to defend for long periods as in the first half. Whilst we had begun the second half better than the first, a mistake from set piece possession gave Parramatta the ball and they worked strongly towards our line which had defended well to this point but alas, Parra crossed after sustained pressure and converted for a 15-15 scoreline. Moments later and seemingly with momentum on our side again, Parra took an opportunity from a charged down kick and suddenly we were down 15-20 with no more than 10min to go.
As the clock ticked down with Parramatta once again in possession, Archie King threw the prefect wide ball to get us going from inside our 22m and after some great attacking play, Ned Yeomans crossed in the corner for his debut try in 1st grade to make it 20-20.
Having drawn level, we managed to work down field from kick off and when James King got into space from a line out, Fergus Lee Warner was happy to take an inside pass to score a 7 pointer with the Beasties storming back to go ahead 27-15. Not to be outdone, Tom Merritt then came on for the last 7 minutes and managed to score in the corner and the job was done....albeit with a degree of anxiety. 1st grade got a much needed bonus point win over a proud and relentless Parramatte.
Easts 2nd grade.
Easts started the game at a ferocious pace running out to a 19-5 lead after 10mins. Early tries were scored by Field, Guerra and Merritt. Poor discipline around the breakdown contributed to Parra getting back into the game. Unfortunately that was the pattern of the game Easts would score a couple of tries and then allow Parra to stay in the contest through poor discipline. The score finished up 38-31 with easts again conceding 14 points in the last 5mins of play. An area that will have to be improved upon this week as we face an unbeaten Eastwood side.
Third Grade travelled to Granville Oval in pursuit of their first win for the season.
Easts started confidently and looked the better side early.
It wasn't long before Easts scored their first try: a good cut-out pass from Andrew Ferris seeing Matt Hooper use a nice change of direction to stroll over in the left hand corner.
The conversion was unsuccessful and Easts led 5 - 0.
We extended the lead to 10 - 0 when Othello Heka made a good break in midfield and ran about 30 metres to score in the right-hand corner.
Easts 10, Parramatta nil.
For the rest of the half, Parramatta came back into the game with a lot of pick-and-driving from the rucks and one-out play as they controlled possession for a greater period of time.
After a string of penalties, Parramatta were able to force their way over close to the posts and we went to half-time leading 10 - 7.
In the second half, Easts kicked off and Parramatta gave us the ball almost immediately and we were able to camp down in their territory.
Easts seemed to become more aggressive in defence in the second half, leading to a greater share of possession culminating in Matt Hooper crossing over again after a strong run.
Rory McGahan converted the try from midway out.
Minutes later, we thought Matt Hooper had gone in for a third but he was unfortunately penalised for a double-movement.
For the majority of the remainder of the second half we managed to camp down near the opposition line in search of a bonus point try, however, a little bit of white line fever prevented it.
Towards the end of the game, Parramatta worked their way down field and scored in the right-hand corner after the bell.
The scores finished 17 - 12.
The victory came down to a strong showing from the Easts forwards led by Matt Hooper and Emerson Adcock (his first grade appearance after missing all the trials) as well as a good performance from halfback, Nathan Lannan.
It was nice to get off the mark, expect further improvement as we go further into the season.
4th Grade walked away from Granville Park with a disappointing loss after Parramatta scored well into injury time to steal the win.
We started poorly again with Parra scoring in the first 5 minutes.
We managed though to get straight back into the game with a penalty goal, followed by 3 successive tries.
Some good handling, defence and attacking raids saw us go to the half time break leading 24-5
Half time was obviously not what we needed as we came out asleep and let Parramatta score again within the first 5 minutes – giving them some belief they could win this game.
Slowly Parramatta were dominating at breakdowns, and our discipline here was letting us down. Parra in again.
With the score now 24-19 we had let them right back in it.
We stemmed the flow here for a brief period where we were able to add 3 points via a penalty goal, 27-19.
But Parramatta kept coming and were able to once again break our defence and score, 27-26 with about 5 minutes remaining.
For the remainder of the match Parramatta were able to maintain possession and grind their way down field.
Phase after phase they edged closer to our try line and minutes after the final bell had sounded they were again able to break our defences and scored under the posts, converting the try to win 33-27 – and seal a memorable comeback.
Our defence in this half was pretty ordinary – first up tackles particularly.
Certainly a few things we learnt from this game that we will hopefully improve on in the coming weeks.