It’s official – Parramatta’s NRL top-eight hopes are over after falling 34-14 to the Titans in Saturday evening’s clash on the Gold Coast.
In contrast, the seventh-placed Titans remain in sight of their first finals campaign in six years after a five-tries-to-three triumph in front of 15,273 fans at cbus Super Stadium.
The Eels had been holding onto hope that winning their remaining seven matches would keep them in the finals mix.
In a year of lurching from controversy to controversy for Parramatta, Eels fans would still have been disheartened by the events of the past week.
Wayward five-eighth Corey Norman watched from the Gold Coast sidelines after being suspended for eight weeks and fined $20,000 for a string of off-field incidents, including a conviction for drug possession.
Parramatta were also taken over by a NSW government-appointed administrator on Tuesday in the wake of their salary-cap scandals which resulted in them being fined $1 million and docked 12 competition points.
But the loss finally derailed the Eels’ unlikely finals run.
Happier days appear ahead for the Titans.
They will back themselves to crack the top eight for the first time since 2010 after downing Parramatta – the first of three straight home fixtures.
The Titans overcame the loss of suspended former NSW Origin player Greg Bird to book their second straight win.
After trailing 14-4 at halftime, Parramatta cut the deficit to six points when prolific winger Bevan French crossed in the 58th minute for his 10th try of the season.
But the Titans were not to be denied.
Back-rower Chris McQueen bagged his double by the 71st minute before halfback Ash Taylor’s 40m intercept try in the dying moments iced the result.
Gold Coast jumped to a 14-0 lead by the 19th minute after tries to Titans recruit Konrad Hurrell, Anthony Don and McQueen.
Eels back-rower Ken Edwards put the visitors on the scoreboard running off Clint Gutherson in the 36th minute.
Titans veteran hooker Nathan Friend (hamstring) left the field in the 34th minute and Eels rake Isaac de Gois (suspected knee issue) limped off in the 64th.