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Two-year away drought ends for Parramatta Eels

Sunday, April 06, 2014

BRISBANE - Parramatta have finally ended their two-year away drought with a gripping 25-18 NRL victory over Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

Chris Sandow and Jarryd Hayne led the resurgent Eels home in a quality second-half where the lead changed four times before Sandow sealed the result with a 40m field goal.

It had been 21 matches since Parramatta — wooden-spooners in the past two seasons — enjoyed their last success on the road, also against Brisbane way back in 2012.

It was hooker Nathan Peats who snuck past Ben Barba — in another indifferent display at fullback — from dummy-half with 11 minutes left to take control after a controversial cross-kick try to the home side.

Parramatta's win sees them draw level with joint leaders Brisbane on a congested table while the Broncos could be most pleased with the return of co-captain Justin Hodges from his achilles injury.

Corey Norman, Kenny Edwards and Sandow combined for Eels' Will Hopoate to open the scoring.

Then big Semi Radrada handled twice and swatted away Barba in a scintillating 85m try for his eighth four-pointer of the season and a 10-0 lead.

But Hodges single-handedly gave the Broncos a much-needed injection 35 seconds before halftime with a signature dummy-half run.

He created something from nothing by fending off both markers - Radradra and Mitch Allgood and also evaded two more defenders before sending Dale Copley down the sideline to score.

A 10-6 deficit flattered the home side but the late try turned the momentum and Ben Hunt continued Brisbane's resurgence with a solo 40m try - dummying his way to the line.

The lead changed again when Hayne made Josh Hoffman pay for a bad defensive read off a scrum but the Eels failed to hold it for long as the video referee awarded the contentious try to Josh McGuire.

Unhappy Broncos coach Anthony Griffin labelled it his team's "worst performance" of the season.

"They started very well in the first half and we were very poor," Griffin said.

"We were 60 per cent with the ball and not much intent defensively."

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