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Eels exact revenge, knocking Broncos out of NRLW finals contention

NRLW heavyweights Brisbane will miss the finals series for the first time in the competition’s history after a 28-16 loss to Parramatta.

The Eels exorcised their demons from last year, when a loss to the Broncos ruled them out of playoff contention in the final game of the regular season.

Brisbane, the winners of the first three NRLW premierships, finished the regular season with 1-4 record, completing a fall from grace that started with their early exit from last year’s finals series.

Heading into the fifth and final round of the regular season, the Broncos, Gold Coast and Parramatta were all chances to claim fourth place and book a spot in next week’s semi-finals.

The Eels were the only winless team of the three and they needed to by more than six points at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford on Sunday to oust the Broncos from the top four.

They handled the assignment with aplomb.

Forwards Kennedy Cherrington and Simaima Taufa were standouts for the Eels, running for over 250 metres each and scoring late tries that confirmed the most memorable win of Parramatta’s short NRLW history.

The Eels must now hope the first-placed Sydney Roosters defeat the Titans later on Sunday, or that Gold Coast do not win by more than 15 points.

Despite losing influential centre and co-captain Tiana Penitani to a quad injury only 13 minutes into the game, the Eels rallied for the sake of their season and overwhelmed the Broncos with a powerful running game.

Parramatta took a 14-6 lead into the break that did not truly reflect their dominance in possession and field position and did especially well to cross on the left edge in the minutes before halftime despite Penitani’s absence.

The Eels could not turn pressure into points early in the second half and with one eye on maintaining a buffer a six-point buffer, kicked for penalty goal to extend their lead to 16-6.

But their decision to pass up the chance to remain on the attack proved costly.

Once out of trouble, the Broncos took just four minutes to begin closing the gap through Hayley Maddick, who was the beneficiary of an Amber Hall line break.

Ali Brigginshaw pitched in two plays that changed the game, first kicking a short drop-out that sat up perfectly for Jamie Chapman.

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And once the Broncos moved downfield, they drew level with a piece of Brigginshaw individual brilliance.

But just when the Broncos’ experience could have overwhelmed the Eels, Taufa burst over to restore the six-point lead, before Cherrington sealed the result on the right three minutes later.


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