Eels stun Souths to breathe life back into their season
Dylan Brown and Mitch Moses have inspired Parramatta to an Indigenous Round boilover, snapping South Sydney's six-game winning streak with a 36-16 upset victory.
Desperately needing a win on Friday to breathe life back into their NRL season, Brown and Moses starred for the Eels to repel the magic of Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker.
The result means Penrith will enter the State of Origin period on top of the ladder for the third straight season, claiming first spot off Souths.
Almost everything appeared set up for the Rabbitohs in their first home game at the new Allianz Stadium.
With five First Nations players in their side, the Bunnies have not been beaten in Indigenous Round since 2015.
They have also had the wood over the Eels in recent years, winning all six games since 2020 with an average margin of 23.7 points.
The Bunnies pushed their way to lead 16-14 early in the second half, and that point it looked likely it would be the same story again.
Parramatta were down to a two-man bench, while Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell were showing glimpses of brilliance to help fellow Indigenous star Alex Johnston to a double.
But ultimately, the Eels needed it more to climb from 14th spot on the ladder to within four points of the top eight.
After losing Andrew Davey to concussion and having Ryan Matterson's State of Origin hopes ended by a calf injury, Junior Paulo and Wiremu Greig were immense.
Paulo played 73 minutes and ran 198 metres in the middle, while Greig punched well above his weight to play 50 minutes and total 200 metres alongside him.
"They're the best wins when it doesn't go to plan. You just need blokes to front up," Eels coach Brad Arthur said.
"If we keep coming with that fight, we will give ourselves the chance to get some back-to-back wins and turn it around."
Brown in particular was impressive.
He laid on a try in the first half when he went to the line from within his own half and offloaded for Matterson before Bailey Simonsson crossed.
He was again influential in Simonsson's second try after the break, putting in a shallow cross-field kick for Clint Gutherson to bat back and help Junior Paulo put the centre over.
And while Lachlan Ilias had a rough second half with two kicks out on the full to gift the Eels good ball, Parramatta were able to capitalise with tries both times.
Moses outgunned his rival number by putting Will Penisini and Bryce Cartwright over for second-half tries, before also kicking for a chasing Brown to dot down in one of four assists.
"If I'm being brutally honest, I don't think we valued the two points as much as we should have tonight," Souths coach Jason Demetriou said.
"We go 16-12 up early in the second half and then process just breaks down.
"We conceded six tries. In the past four weeks we conceded six combined."