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Easts Pump Parramatta to Claim Jack Gibson Cup

Doubles to James Tedesco and Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii proved the difference for the Sydney Roosters, who pumped the Parramatta Eels 34-12 at CommBank Stadium on Friday night to claim the Jack Gibson Cup. 

In the absence of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Lindsay Collins assumed responsibly, leading by example with two incredible try-saving plays to help keep Parramatta to 12 points, an effort that was rewarded with the Chad Robinson Medal.

The Eels lost their Captain's Challenge in the opening set of the match after Reagan Campbell-Gillard unsuccessfully appealed the on-field decision of an incorrect (angled) play the ball. 

With field position in their favour, the Roosters applied the pressure with a left edge play, but an off-target pass resulted in a handling error, handing possession back to the hosts. 

A smart decision from Parramatta to involve Billy Smith in the play when he was in an offside position resulted in a penalty, taking full advantage of their field position to claim first points through an outstretched Bryce Cartwright who planted the ball on the line by a millimetre. Clint Gutherson kicked the conversion to give the Eels a six-point lead in the ninth minute. 

The Roosters muscled up in defence to hold out Parramatta as they desperately tried to keep the ball alive with a trio of offloads, with a heroic tackle from Lindsay Collins and Fletcher Baker resulting in Will Penisini losing the ball on the put-down. 

An Unbelievable Save from Baker & Collins

A grubber by Luke Keary was batted dead by Eels winger Sean Russell, with the hosts short restart attempt plucked from the air by a high-flying Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii, but the Roosters couldn't turn their possession into points. 

Keary miraculously put boot to ball to avoid a knock-on and get the Roosters another set of six after Parramatta interrupted the play. A few tackles later, Brandon Smith was deemed held-up in goal after the hooker attempted to burrow his way over from dummy half. 

In the 23rd minute, Eels hooker Joey Lussick stretched out his hand in an attempt to grasp the ball, knocking on in the process. From the scrum, a perfectly executed play by the Tricolours saw Skipper James Tedesco brush off the tackle of Russell to breeze into the in-goal. Suaalii converted the try to lock up the scores at six-apiece.

Tedesco Breezes Through

Only four minutes later, a knock-on by Penisini proved to be disastrous for Parramatta as the Roosters set up a similar scrum play, this time sending the ball right to Suaalii who stepped inside and beat the defence to crash down. The 20-year-old Samoan International converted his own try from the sideline to give the Roosters a six-point lead. 

Suaalii Crashes Over

The Eels looked to swing the game back into the balance with three set restarts close to the tryline but the Bondi Wall refused to surrender, rushing up in the line to pin back the hosts before Suaalii ended the high-pressure period with an inspiring catch.

Easts marched upfield following a penalty in the 35th minute, before Joseph Manu bamboozled Parramatta's defence to flick Tedesco an offload and send his Captain storming towards the try-line, carrying Gutherson on his back over the stripe. Suaalii's conversion carried the Roosters to a 12-point lead on the brink of half-time.

Tedesco Doubles Up

Suaalii claimed his second try shortly after the break, latching on to a rainbow ball from Tedesco to race into the corner.

An error from Maika Sivo rewarded the Roosters with more field position, before the Fijian International winger clipped Tedesco high and ended his night - with the Independent Doctor ruling the Skipper sustained a Category 1 concussion. 

Parramatta found their first points of the second half after Bailey Simonsson broke through the Roosters defence on the edge, finding Gutherson in support back on the inside for an uncontested try. The Eels Captain converted his own try to cut the deficit to 10. 

Keary poked a grubber through the line to target Gutherson in the 67th minute, with the fullback unable to gather the ball - affording the Tricolours a golden opportunity to pile on more points. 

On-field for less than a minute, young utility Sandon Smith sent the ball right, not finding his original target of Drew Hutchison, instead finding his fellow pathways graduate Siua Wong, who clung onto the ball as it bounced up, sprinting into the in-goal for a try.

Wong All Smiles

Suaalii continued his near-perfect night on the boot, converting the try from in-front to give the Roosters a 16-point lead. 

Remarkable defence from Collins turned the Eels away once more, with the Roosters absorbing the late pressure on their line to lay the platform for another try. 

Keary provided a delightful short-ball to Nat Butcher who cruised straight through defence to put the cherry on top of a resolute performance by the visitors.

Keary Supplies Butcher

Suaalii converted the try on the siren to cement a 34-12 victory to keep the Tricolours finals aspirations alive.

Sydney Roosters 34 (James Tedesco 2, Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 2, Siua Wong, Nat Butcher tries, Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 5 goals) def Parramatta Eels 12. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.