Sport Rugby League NRL: Eels end Rabbitohs’ winning streak

NRL: Eels end Rabbitohs’ winning streak

One up! Clint Gutherson of the Eels celebrates his try. Photo: Getty
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Parramatta has taken advantage of a depleted South Sydney outfit to claim a 26-14 victory and end the NRL ladder leaders’ winning streak at seven.

The Rabbitohs were missing seven players through State of Origin duty or injury, including Damien Cook, Cody Walker and Cameron Murray.

An eighth player, James Roberts, was only signed to the club on Wednesday.

But that mattered little to a near full-strength Eels, who ended their own run of three straight defeats on the back of a strong Mitch Moses effort.

Moses set up a 12-2 lead for the hosts, including two in the space of a game-turning four-minute period late in the first half on Friday night.

A Maika Sivo try made it a three-try buffer soon after halftime before Thomas Burgess got one back eight minutes later.

But Moses replied with his third try-assist, for Josh Hoffman, in the 61st minute.

Junior Tatola scored late to give the visitors a glimmer of hope but that was as close as the Rabbitohs got in front of 21,645 at Bankwest Stadium.

The win consolidates Parramatta’s top-eight spot, while Melbourne Storm, who have the bye, will steal top position from the Rabbitohs on percentage.

Eels coach Brad Arthur was looking for a response from his team after dropping four players from last week’s loss to Penrith.

And his men responded with an aggressive display against their inexperienced counterparts, who fielded three players on debut.

Little separated the teams over the opening half hour, with both landing a penalty goal before Moses blew the game open in the blink of an eye.

The first was a neat grubber kick for Clint Gutherson, before he burned John Sutton and offloaded for Blake Ferguson to set up a 10-point halftime lead.

Connor Tracey was one of the Rabbitohs’ best, breaking 12 tackles, running for a team-high 181m and breaking the line twice in an eye-catching debut.