It was the brutal 60 seconds that summed up Parramatta’s second-half performance against South Sydney and effectively ended their season.
In the blink of an eye, the Eels went from what looked certain to be a 20-20 scoreline to trailing 26-18 after Mitchell Moses butchered a gift two points when his penalty goal attempt hit the post.
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Down 20-18 with 18 minutes remaining on Saturday night, Moses had a relatively easy shot at goal to level the scores and stem the bleeding after Souths erased an 18-8 half-time deficit.
Moses would nail the kick 99 times out of 100, but he inexplicably pulled the shot at goal and watched in horror as it clattered into the post.
The ball then ricocheted 20 metres where it looked like the Eels might regather, however Jaxson Paulo plucked the ball out of Brad Takairangi’s hands and the Rabbitohs raced 60 metres downfield.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Souths made the Eels pay the ultimate price when Clint Gutherson (playing an absolute blinder up until that point) fumbled a Damien Cook grubber in the in-goal to present Bayley Sironen a try on a platter.
Instead of being locked at 20-20, the Rabbitohs had an eight-point lead that they would never relinquish and the Eels’ season was done and dusted.
Fans and commentators couldn’t believe what they’d just watched.
Shame the @TheParraEels are yet to play for 80mins.— Sandy Hunter 🐶 (@sandyhunter2) October 10, 2020
Souths too good in 2nd half.
Silly mistakes again let us down. Can’t explain Moses missing that kick. 🤔
Disappointing day all round being a supporter. 💙💛
Oh well I’m on the @PenrithPanthers bandwagon.👍 #NRLFinals
Overlooked in the Moses bashing is also the fact that the kick came back 30m off the post and there wasn’t a Parra player near it.— Meat Axe (@macktruck81) October 10, 2020
Ray Price will be filthy.
Congrats to the @SSFCRABBITOHS— El-Judgo (@Swisher2009) October 10, 2020
Were too good for the Eels tonight.
Moses kicks that penalty and could have gone completely different.
Still a great season by Parra!
Came 3rd & lost some players for the finals.
Will be back better in 2021!
Always proud of them 👍🏼
Up the Eels!
That Mitchell Moses kick ricocheting off the goal post will haunt me for the next few weeks 😫— Chris Evans (@chrisevansfilm_) October 10, 2020
Moses failed kick will go down as one of the all time chokes. Magnificent capitulation.— AK #15 (@falconpunch89) October 10, 2020
Moses kick hurt massively— Benny (@saintbenny63) October 10, 2020
Parramatta legend Peter Sterling was critical of the missed penalty goal and the Eels’ response to it.
“I don’t think the score indicates the contest we saw tonight,” he said on Channel Nine.
“You go back to the penalty goal that hit the upright. They didn’t defend the next set of six and it was a big turnaround.
“That’ll haunt for a while. You can't assume he's going to kick the goal.
“They had to have numbers up there. You've got to be ready for it. You just can't assume.”
Gutherson was shattered after the match.
“We put ourselves in a position to lead at half-time. We got back into it. Just an unlucky bounce off the post really killed us,” the fullback said.
“We couldn't get the field position back after that. It’s really disappointing to finish like that.
“In this game, once you have that momentum you've got to keep for as long as you can.
“As I said, just a freak hit of the post, we didn't react quick enough, they made a break and scored.”
Dramatic day ends in more Parramatta pain
A stunning second-half from South Sydney heaped more pain on Parramatta with a 38-24 victory in the second NRL semi-final.
In a dramatic day for the club, the Eels led 18-8 at half-time before leaking 30 points to end their premiership hopes.
Earlier, the Eels had been rocked by the revelation former Test and Origin centre Michael Jennings had failed a drug test and would be provisionally suspended under the NRL's anti-doping policy.
It forced rookie winger Haze Dunster into a baptism of fire after getting the call-up to debut at 7.30am on game day.
Dunster was thrown onto the wing as part of Brad Arthur’s patched together backline, with Maika Sivo and Blake Ferguson also missing through injury.
And while the Eels were gutsy in defeat, their season came to an end in front of 14,510 fans at Bankwest Stadium.
“They bounced in, they were ready to go and obviously people were concerned about what happened but they knew they had a job to do, and it was to come and play footy,” Arthur said.
“I thought the effort was there but it was just some dumb moments.
“(Souths) scored three soft tries tonight. We didn't make them earn those tries.”
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