Parramatta 22-19 Eastwood: Two Blues not surprised by result

Trent Winterstein break

Parramatta may have caused the upset of the season on Saturday, beating reigning premiers Eastwood 22-19 to claim their first win of the season.

However Two Blues coach Paul Hardwick wasn’t overly surprised.

“We’ll win this weekend,” Hardwick told Rugby News late last week before his side kicked a 79th minute penalty goal to seal a moral boosting win over the Woodies.

“We are a new team with a new coaching staff, so it always takes a few weeks and in some cases a few months to come together and get those combinations right,” Hardwick said after the win.

“We’ve had a few close losses recently and I could see the improvement in those performances as the combinations began to gel.

“There was a touch of optimism in that comment, but I was pretty confident that a win wasn’t too far away,” he added.

On “Back to Parra Day” at Merrylands, Eastwood caught the home side napping in the second minute as Tim Williams crossed out wide to open the scoring for the visitors.

That seemed to wake the Parramatta forwards, who dominated for the remainder of the first half, crossing twice from close range through Dave Lolohea and Sevaro Domoni to take a 14-7 lead to the half time break.

Eastwood levelled the score early in the second half through Rhys Allen but Parramatta continued to dominate both possession and territory and went ahead in the 72nd minute when Robert Duff scored in the corner after a sustained period of pressure deep in Eastwood’s half.

With just minutes remaining, Blake Sutton scored and looked to have stolen victory for the visitors, but the Woodies were unable to convert a relatively simple conversion from just next to the posts.

Eastwood then spilled the ball from the ensuing restart and were penalised for off-side, allowing Tom Woods to kick a penalty goal and seal a famous 22-19 victory for the Two Blues.

“It’s massive for everyone involved with the club, from the water boys to the ball boys, the spectators and the players,” Hardwick told Rugby News.

“It’s a huge boost and a great reward for the players and the coaching staff for what we’ve trying to roll out.”

Hardwick credited his side’s hard working forward pack and said he was thrilled to see Parramatta close out a tight match after a tough start to the season.

“In the past, Parramatta have been known to go away from our structure when pressure is applied and that’s something we are trying to change. We want to play structured rugby, smart rugby and that is starting to show.”

“The good sides come away with points whenever they are camped down in the opposition’s territory and we are focused on doing.

“We missed an opportunity earlier in the second half when we took a quick tap instead of going for the line, but we have addressed that with the players already and have moved on.

While finals footy may be out of reach for the Two Blues this season, the club continues to grow from strength to strength both on and off the field in a positive sign for rugby in Sydney’s west.

“We’ve lost four games by four points or less so far this year and some of that has been due to ill discipline, but that is something we are turning around,” Hardwick said.

“I can’t see why we can’t be in contention for the finals next year. This year is about making sure our structures are embedded with our players.”

Parramatta face Gordon at Chatswood Oval in round nine.

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