Second-placed Parramatta used their overwhelming size advantage to beat the NYC Cowboys 48-22 in their round 13 under-20s clash at Pirtek Stadium tonight.
Beaten by the Eels by a club record 60 points in round eight, the Cowboys threatened to cause a major upset when they fought back to just four down early in the second 40 minutes of the rematch.
But the Eels, with their huge outside backs dominant, finished with a late rush of points to complete their season double against North Queensland.
The Cowboys went to the midway point of the first half 10-6 down, although the Eels wasted a couple of great opportunities to be further in front.
Halfback Zac Dockar-Clay was in the middle of most of Parra’s best moments, throwing the pass for the first try of the match to centre Fou Tagilima and then scampering 80 metres after snaring a Cowboys kick ahead for his team’s second in the 20th minute.
Hooker Alex Bush was guilty of his team’s biggest missed opportunity, losing the ball over the line after catching the Cowboys out with a dummy-half run.
Dockar-Clay also went close after breaking through down the middle and the Eels had another potential four-pointer overruled for a double movement.
NQ’s first points came via a more successful attacking kick – a chip over the top from Alex Grant that ended with winger Rainer Power touching down out wide.
Corey Jensen converted from the sideline to have the Cowboys level at 6-all at that point.
Failing to find touch with a penalty kick ended up costing NQ a four-pointer in the next set of six to Eels winger Halauafu Lavaka, who was unmarked when he took a crosskick, and the margin built to more than two converted tries for the first time thanks to a run from impressive front-rower Kelepi Tanginoa with five left in the half.
The Cowboys hit back just before the break, with fullback Yamba Bowie showing off his elusiveness to score a solo try from 10 metres out to leave his team 22-12 down.
Within four minutes of the restart, the gap was down to four.
Viliame Kikau fought his way over the line for his team’s third four-pointer – his third in as many weeks – and Jensen added another conversion.
With all the momentum going their way, despite losing replacement forward Regan Grieve to concussion, the Cowboys lost the initiative via an intercept that led to giant winger Fabian Goodall shedding two tacklers to cross in the corner on the next play for Parra.
A one-on-one steal by Halauafu Lavaka 15 metres out from NQ’s line gave the Eels another try with 25 to go, building their lead to 32-18.
With the Cowboys struggling to get out of their own end, Luvaka’s third came after a sweeping backline move to the right and finished off the visitors.
In one of their rare forays into the Eels’ 20-metre zone, Conor Carey capitalised on smart lead-up work from Cooper Bambling and Yamba Bowie to score for North Queensland, and they came close to snaring another with Lenny Magey denied in the corner by the Eels’ covering defence.
Tyrell Fuimaono, Lavaka, with his fourth, and Jordan Muna finished off the job for the home team with tries in the final 10 minutes to blow the winning margin out to 26.