NRL Round 12: Canberra Raiders vs Parramatta Eels, Dylan Brown’s 10-out-of-10 display
Parramatta playmaker Dylan Brown produced a 10-out-of-10 display to get the Eels home in one of the best games of the season.
An electric Eels display by two-try hero Dylan Brown inspired Parramatta’s 28-20 win over the Raiders in one of the best games of the season so far.
The majestic five-eighth showcased why he is regarded as one of the strongest ball running playmakers in the competition by brushing off Josh Papalii to score a cracker and give the Eels the lead in the first half.
Two more line breaks were the catalyst for tries either side of the break before he supported a Shaun Lane bust to score the match winner. It was a 10 out of 10 display, while also carrying a leg injury in the second stanza.
“That’s Dylan. He’s a competitor who scraps and fights for everything,” Eels coach Brad Arthur said. “He’s a tough kid. His strength is his running game and when our team can provide momentum he can carry off the back of it.”
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The first half featured six superb tries that showcased every skill imaginable from both sides, before the Eels stepped up without the ball in the second half to defend their way to victory.
“Our second half defence was excellent. We were courageous on our tryline. The desperation was outstanding,” Arthur said.
Canberra, welcoming half Jamal Fogarty for his first game of the season, had a super start powered by wrecking ball props Papalii and Joseph Tapine who dominated Blues duo Junior Paulo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard with their vigour and an assortment of late offloads.
The Raiders had the Eels on the ropes when they surprisingly elected to kick for goal while leading 18-16 early in the second half. Parramatta defended like demons, before Brown cut loose to make them pay.
Dylan Brown is just 21 and has the world at his feet. After a quiet 2021, Brown has stepped up in all facets this year. His ball running was awesome against the Raiders with three line breaks, six tackle busts and a stunning 153m to go with his two tries.
He is also a courageous player. Brown left the field at half-time hobbling but came back out in the second stanza to immediately make a try saver on Matt Timoko.
Maroons prop Papalii is in career best form ahead of the State of Origin series. The veteran spent 15 minutes off the field for an HIA assessment in the first half but still had nine stellar runs, 84m and three offloads by the break.
He continued on his merry way in the second stanza and is just an unstoppable force at the moment for Canberra, in cahoots with front-row partner Tapine who was also enormous. In commentary Fox League’s Andrew Voss said it was the best start by a front-row duo this year after they wracked up 15 hit-ups inside the first 10 minutes.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said the performance showed his team was “not intimidated by anybody”.
Former Raider Bailey Simonsson had a blinder against his old club in one of his best games for the Eels. The Eels winger was airborne to score a crucial second half try after he’d dashed over from a Clint Gutherson ball in the first.
Combine that with high involvement and lovely flick from a Mitch Moses bomb for Will Penisini’s opening try, and it was a return to Canberra to remember.
Fogarty, back from a pre-season knee injury, had a handy game for a man who hasn’t played all season. He landed an inch-perfect bomb for the opening try to Sebastian Kris and looked slick for the most part in his combination with Jack Wighton as the Raiders fielded their 10th different spine combination for the year.
“I thought [Fogarty] was very comfortable. He fitted in very well and had some good, neat kicks,” Stuart said. “He will be a disappointed with a line break they made on his inside shoulder but that happens. I was very happy to have Jamal back.”
Stuart rejoices at opportunity for Fogarty
— James Phelps
Ricky Stuart has described Jamal Fogarty as a complete professional after the former Gold Coast playmaker was handed his first Canberra NRL jersey.
Set to run out in the NRL as a Raider for the first time on Sunday when Canberra clash with Parramatta at GIO Stadium, Fogarty was anointed as Raiders player No.384 on Saturday during a jersey presentation that saw his wife Kahila Walsh deliver a speech.
“Having Jamal’s wife speak was beautiful,” Stuart said. “I could just tell how much it meant to not just Jamal but to the whole family.”
The Raiders biggest off-season signing, Fogarty quit the Titans to join Canberra on a three-year deal.
Fogarty was injured (knee) during a pre-season trial against the Sea Eagles in a move that stopped him from joining Jack Wighton in the halves.
Fogarty was this week cleared to make his long-awaited debut for his new club.
“He has prepared from the first day in rehabilitation to now like a committed professional,” Stuart said. “Jamal is a special character. He is bubbly, upbeat and loves his football.
“He has been involved in every team meeting and every session right throughout his rehabilitation. He is just a very passionate footy player and we are very proud to have him as Raider 384.”
Fogarty said he was looking forward to making his debut for the Raiders against the Eels.
“Coming down as a Titan previously, you kinda want to boo them or don’t really give a crap about (the clap),” he said. “But to be on the other side of it, the anticipation under the sheds, there’s a couple of home games there where I’ve got goosebumps then had to go and sit on the sidelines.
“I can only imagine what the boys are feeling when they’re actually running out to it.”
Fogarty also said he is prepared for his return after missing the first 11 games of the season with a knee injury.
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“The last couple of weeks I’ve done a bit of an intro, a bit of skills, I was trying to tell the trainers to beat it, they were like ‘nah mate, gotta be nice and diligent with it’,” Fogarty said.
“Last week I was able to do a couple of full sessions, obviously this week preparing for Parra has been really good.”
Originally published as NRL Round 12: Canberra Raiders vs Parramatta Eels, Dylan Brown’s 10-out-of-10 display