A hat-trick from tryscoring freak Semi Radradra has inspired Parramatta to a 16-12 win over St George Illawarra at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday night.
Radradra scored tries in the 4th, 43rd and 61st minutes as the Eels put a week of drama surrounding Kieran Foran’s contract imbroglio behind them to drag themselves off the bottom rung on the NRL ladder.
It was the fourth straight game in which Radradra has scored two or more tries and the Fijian has now scored 14 tries in nine games so far this season.
He has collected 21 tries in 16 games at the Eels home ground and tallied 40 in 41 NRL games since debuting for Parramatta late in 2013.
Radradra’s third try of the night looked to have sealed back-to-back wins for the Eels.
But his compatriot Eto Nabuli scored for the Dragons with 12 minutes to go to set up a grandstand finish before 15,046 fans.
But Parramatta held firm thanks to some stoic goal line defence and some wasteful playmaking from Benji Marshall to hand the Dragons three straight defeats.
Euan Aitken scored the game’s first try in just the second minute after Dylan Farrell chased down a Benji Marshall chip kick and passed on to his centre for the visitors to lead 6-0 with Gareth Widdop’s conversion.
But Radradra’s reply was swift, when he crossed for his first after Leeson Ah Mau spilt the Steeden from the restart to hand the Eels possession.
Chris Sandow’s first sideline conversion of the night tied up the scores at 6-all.
After the blitzkrieg start, the only other points scored in the opening stanza were from a Widdop penalty goal in the 32nd minute.
Both sides did go close though with Eels pivot Luke Kelly held up by Joel Thompson in the 36th minute.
The Dragons were denied three times by the video referee, most notably in the 12th minute when a Dylan Farrell try was called back for obstruction when Chris Sandow fell down easily in the defensive line.
Those tryscoring woes, the joint venture’s Achilles heel all year, continued after the break with Nabuli’s effort the only one from the Dragons to trouble the scorers after halftime
Anthony Watmough was put on report for a first half high tackle on Ben Creagh.
Dragon Mike Cooper (back) and Eel Tepai Moeroa (shoulder) both suffered first half injuries but played on after the break.