Moses misses birth of daughter as Eels seal Grand Final berth after ‘absolute disgrace’ of cruel Cowboys forward pass call

Parramatta is just 80 minutes from the end of the NRL’s longest premiership drought after staging a remarkable comeback to sink North Queensland after half-back Mitchell Moses missed the birth of his first child to lead his team to victory.

The Eels are in their first Grand Final since 2009, taking on the winner of Saturday night’s Panthers vs Souths stoush, following Friday night’s stunning 24-20 triumph over the Cowboys at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

They looked dead and buried as they trailed 20-12 midway through the second half before shutting up the sold-out crowd.

Immortal half-back Andrew Johns described it as “one of the bravest efforts” he had seen from Parramatta as a questionable first-half try, via a forward pass from Moses, s ultimately proved decisive and will be a sore point for the Cowboys for a long time. .

“I thought the pass was thrown very forward. It’s a shame, it’s an absolute shame, how could you miss it? Immortal Five-eighth Wally Lewis furious at Triple M’s comment. “He [referee Grant Atkins] practically stood in a similar line.

Moses said he watched the birth of his still-unknown daughter on FaceTime hours before kick-off in an interview with Nine just after full time.

“I have to go meet my little one,” he said when asked about the sacrifice of missing his daughter’s birth.

Eels coach Brad Arthur said he knew if his team could get the upper hand in field position and ball possession, they would.

“We made a lot of sacrifices along the way, Mitch Moses made a huge sacrifice for his teammates today, missing the birth of his daughter, that’s huge,” he said. “At least we made sure it was worth it.

“We really wanted it, you could see it. I’ve seen it in their eyes since the Bulldogs game in Round 22 or whatever. They didn’t do it to me, they got together and had real honest conversations about showing up every week no matter how they felt and that was the mentality we took when we arrived here – get on a plane, get up there, I don’t care how you feel, just do the work, and that’s what we did.

Cowboys coach Todd Payten said the Eels deserved the win and did not blame the referee for the forward pass call.

“In my first instance I thought it was forward, but looking back on the replay a few times I thought it was pretty tight – it came early enough in the game that we we were recovering from it,” Payten said.

“They [Parramatta] played soccer in the final. The way they handled the second half was much better than ours. I don’t think they made any mistakes and the way they scrambled, defending their line, was the difference between a win and a loss. And, to be fair, we probably missed a few soft tries that turned the momentum of the game.

The Cowboys dominated the early rallies, but the Eels drew first blood in wacky circumstances when Moses kicked the ball on the final tackle and threw a forward pass wide for center Will Penisini to land.

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Former Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith on Nine’s comment estimated he ‘walked about a yard and a half’ forward when viewing the replay, but officials on the pitch saw nothing trouble with the game.

Cowboys forward Reuben Cotter tied it at 6-6 in the 12th minute when he got past a few Parra defenders at close range.

North Queensland had fallen to 12 for 10 minutes when Jason Taumalolo was tried for hitting Isaiah Papali’i high with his shoulder.

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

“Yes, he makes contact with the head but there is no intention there. I think it’s gonna be a fine,” Johnathan Thurston said in Nine’s commentary, although it needs to be reinforced that he’s a Cowboys legend, so his view may be somewhat skewed, although the Tongan powerhouse no longer has an appointment next Sunday at the Accor stadium to worry about.

The gap down the middle was exploited midway through the first half when Ryan Matterson dispatched Reagan Campbell-Gillard for a 12-6 lead.

Despite still being at Taumalolo, the Cowboys fought back to cut the deficit to two in the 25th minute when Luciano Leilua crossed Waqa Blake’s tackle on the board after the Eels winger dropped another kick. high.

Inexplicably, Moses kicked twice full with bombs and the Cowboys took advantage of his indiscretions when they leveled at 12-12 at halftime when Junior Paulo was penalized for hindering Griffin Neame in the ruck .

The Cowboys took a 14-12 lead early in the second half via a penalty goal and after Neame caused havoc in the middle, they turned the ball wide for Valentine Holmes to send Murray Taulagi to extend the goal. gap to eight.

Against the run of play, Parra cut the margin to 20-18 when RCG landed a rare double try on a rough ball from close range.

TOWNSAVILLE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Dylan Brown of the Eels passes during the NRL Preliminary Final match between North Queensland Cowboys and Parramatta Eels at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on September 23, 2022 in Townsville, Australia.  (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Moses could have leveled the ledger in the 63rd minute with a relatively easy penalty after a high tackle from Kyle Feldt, but his ill-fated night with the boot continued.

It didn’t matter a few minutes later when Shaun Lane fired a stunning no-look pass over Feldt’s head to give Maika Sivo a saloon pass to the line and Moses nailed the conversion from the sideline for a 24-20 advantage.

“He hung it, he had no idea where it was going,” Paul Vautin assumed on Nine’s comment.

Feldt claimed a try in the 70th minute, but replays showed his foot grazed the touchline as Sivo overwhelmed him in cover defence.

Eel stalwart Junior Paulo was indicted for a lifting tackle in the closing stages but shouldn’t have to worry when the Match Review Panel announces its findings on Saturday.

The Cowboys got dangerously close in the closing stages, but the Eels hung on to throw wild scenes among the traveling camp and the fans.

“Not many people gave us the chance to come here. We did exactly what we came here to do,” said Eels skipper Clint Gutherson. “We are here, we gave ourselves a chance. You have to be in to win, we’re here. We have work to do now – we have to go home and start worrying about next week.

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