Eels’ season of misery sinks to new low
MILESTONES may have been the last thing on Wayne Bennett's mind but Brisbane still celebrated his 800th NRL game, capping a tough week for their coach with a 18-10 win over an unlucky Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium.
Bennett reckoned he hadn't even thought about his remarkable landmark before the match with his future up in the air after the Broncos confirmed they were pursuing off contract Melbourne mentor Craig Bellamy.
But the Broncos clearly had not forgotten, rallying behind their besieged coach to produce a three tries to one win in front of a 21,555-strong crowd.
It marked Bennett's 496th win of his career in his 32nd season.
However the win may have come at a price - NSW hopeful and Brisbane centre James Roberts limped off in the 61st minute with a suspected Achilles injury.
The limelight is the last place media shy Bennett wants to be at the best of times but the 68-year-old could not avoid all eyes being on him on Thursday night.
Besides his remarkable milestone, Bennett is under pressure to remain at Brisbane for the first time after it emerged this week the NRL club was hoping to poach Bellamy.
But the Broncos team showed they were still playing for Bennett, lifting in the seven-time premiership winning mentor's big game to seal their fourth win in five matches.
Brisbane were outside the eight before the round 12 game but another win has them in the hunt for Bennett to feature in the 27th finals series of his glittering career.
Parramatta slumped to their 10th loss in 12 games.
Brisbane led 12-2 at halftime after Jamayne Isaako outjumped Bevan French to score off a Kori Nikorima kick and fellow winger Corey Oates exploited an overlap created by Michael Jennings' 13th minute sin binning to also crash over.
The hosts blew the deficit out to 16-2 by the 43rd minute when Roberts scored off a Jaydn Su'A bust.
But the Eels threatened a fightback when winger George Jennings intercepted an Anthony Milford pass and ran 90m to score to cut the deficit to 16-8 in the 52nd minute.
The Eels had seven straight penalties before potting a 65th minute goal. That was as close as they got.
Parramatta's fortunes on Thursday night - or lack thereof - were best summed up when Michael Jennings bombed not one but two tries by dropping the ball with the line in sight.
And Bevan French's 75th minute try was also disallowed due to a forward pass.