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Mateo works his magic - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Sat, 08 Sep 2007 11:16:00 GMT
Eels lock Feleti Mateo will long remember the blue and gold’s 12-10 win over the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium in week 1 of the 2007 NRL finals series.

Mateo – who is viewed by some as the next Sonny Bill Williams – broke another record, scoring his first ever try in a final series in the 64th minute.

It was unarguably the most important try of the night in a tight knit affair which resulted in a nil-all half-time score.

Down 4-0 after Todd Byrne posted the first points with some help from a cross-field kick, the visitors trailed for the next 19 minutes.

Putting themselves and their fans under immense pressure from hopeless kicks and poor ball control in their own half, the Eels appeared to be a ‘dead football team’ walking.

Enter Mateo who then added his 9th try of the year to help kick start the engine of Michael Hagan’s heroes and hand the Eels a precarious 6-4 lead.

A converted follow-up try by Jarryd Hayne put Parramatta in cruise control up 12-4 before the Warriors retaliated in the 77th minute.

Taken out chasing a kick, Warriors five-eighth Michael Witt was then awarded a penalty try by the same Bill Harrigan who gave one to Melbourne in the 99 Grand Final.

The video referee ruled that Witt was illegally tackled without the ball while attempting to take a pass five metres from the tryline.

In the end though it was Witt’s failure to convert the first try of the night which cost the home side an extra-time battle and subsequently the match.

Eels coach Michael Hagan – who won a premiership in his first year as coach of Newcastle – called the penalty try ‘a bit over the top’.

Meanwhile losing Warriors coach Ivan Cleary didn’t make any excuses.

“In these games when you get chances you’ve got to take them and we didn’t”, Cleary said.

Parramatta 12 (F Mateo, J Hayne tries; K Inu 2 goals) d New Zealand 10 (T Byrne try; M Witt ½ goals) at Ericsson Stadium. Referee: the great Tony Archer. Crowd: 28,745 Penalties: Eels 7-5 Errors: Eels 17-16 - Read More, Here