Barba stars as Bulldogs defeat Eels
Sat, 14 Jul 2012 12:08a.m.
Ben Barba once again showed why he's the most exciting player in the NRL as Canterbury sealed a seventh successive victory with a 32-12 win against a gallant Parramatta at ANZ Stadium.
The diminutive fullback scored another wonder try and set up three more as Des Hasler's team were made to work hard for their two points by a depleted but much-improved Eels side.
The lowly Eels, who were without the injured Jarryd Hayne and Matt Keating and the suspended Ben Smith, lost Fuifui Moimoi in the opening hit-up when he was caught across the jaw by the swinging arm of Sam Kasiano.
Moimoi was slipping as he went down, but giant Kasiano was placed on report for the incident which saw the veteran prop helped off the field.
The early signs looked ominous for the Eels, who shipped 34 points in the first half against Manly last week, with Josh Morris scoring a fifth-minute try.
Barba then added another entry to his highlights video when he fielded a Chris Sandow grubber-kick in front of his own posts, shrugged off three tackles and raced the length of the field to score.
But the visitors responded well and cut the deficit when Ken Sio hauled in a Luke Kelly kick for his ninth try of the season.
It was the start of a sustained spell of pressure, but they were unable to breach the Bulldogs defensive line, and were punished for their profligacy when Morris went over again on the stroke of halftime.
Despite that blow, Parramatta came out firing after the interval and scored a superb try through Ryan Morgan after good work from Sandow and Kelly, with Luke Burt's kick closing the gap to 16-12.
However, like so often this season, the Eels shot themselves in the foot with some silly errors to undo all of their good work.
After defending two sets on their own line, Nathan Hindmarsh offloaded the ball forward on the first tackle, and from the resulting scrum Barba fed winger Jonathan Wright to score.
And in the 65th minute Sandow threw a pass straight into the arms of Inu to gift the Bulldogs possession and Josh Reynolds added the finishing touches as the home side marched down the field to score.
And to add insult to injury, Wright, one of three former Eels in the Bulldogs side, scored his second try, four minutes from time, with Inu kicking his fourth conversion of the game.
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