Eels edge Knights to reach NRL finals as Momirovski miss costs Tigers

By Sports Desk August 10, 2019

Clint Gutherson scored twice as Parramatta Eels won a see-saw encounter against Newcastle Knights 20-14 to seal their place in the NRL finals and significantly damage their opponents' hopes.

A double from Gutherson had the Eels in an 8-2 half-time lead, and although the Knights – who have now lost six straight games – fought back through converted tries from Mitchell Barnett and Shaun Kenny-Dowall, the hosts ultimately prevailed at Bankwest Stadium.

Reed Mahoney's try in the 55th minute was swiftly followed up by another from in-form Maika Sivo to build a four-point lead, and Mitch Moses' late penalty sealed the victory.

The Eels move up to joint-fifth in the NRL ladder, while the Knights are 12th, three points adrift of the top eight with four regular season games to play. 

Elsewhere, Wests Tigers' finals hopes took a dent as they relinquished an eight-point lead at the interval in a dramatic 18-16 defeat to Canterbury Bulldogs that leaves them a point outside the top half.

Josh Jackson, Jeremy Marshall-King and Nick Meaney all crossed in an 11-minute blitz just after the restart to turn the game in the Bulldogs' favour at ANZ Stadium.

The Tigers' Paul Momirovski, who earlier scored two tries, then missed a crucial conversion in the final seconds after Luke Garner's score a minute from time appeared to have set the stage for a golden point battle.

There was more woe for the visitors with Robbie Farah leaving the field in the first half due to a suspected medial ligament injury that could bring a premature end to his final season, while captain Moses Mbye sustained a quad problem that ended his involvement.

In Saturday's other game, Gareth Widdop shone by laying on three tries and kicking six conversions as St George Illawarra Dragons won an entertaining 12-try encounter 40-28 against Gold Coast Titans.

The match – which all but sealed the wooden spoon for the Titans - was James Graham's 400th first-grade appearance and the prop was emotional after a surprise visit from members of his family who travelled to watch the occasion from England.

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