Moses delivers Eels into promised land - almost
THE horrid and painful wait may just about be over.
Frustrated and under-achieving Parramatta has been forced to wait an eternity since last playing finals footy.
The wait is officially 2826 days but that is all about to change.
A dramatic 13-12 golden point win over fierce Sydney rivals Canterbury on Thursday night has Parramatta poised to roar into this season's finals series.
It took a Mitchell Moses extra-time field goal to split the 12-all score at full-time.
The Eels now sit on 20 competition points and have another bye in round 19.
That means Parramatta need to win just three of their remaining eight games to reach the required 28 competition points for a finals berth.
And among their opponents over the closing rounds are Wests Tigers, Canterbury (again), Newcastle and South Sydney.
Parramatta's last finals appearance was the 2009 grand final, a 23-16 loss to Melbourne on October 4.
Since then disappointment has followed disappointment. It is the longest semi-final drought of any team in the NRL.
Maybe coach Brad Arthur has finally unlocked the famous Eels and the club's massive blue-and-gold army.
It wasn't pretty on Thursday night but the two competition points were vital.
Embarrassingly, Parramatta has the longest streak of any current side without a premiership win.
That last victory goes way back to 1986.
Season 2017 is now just about over for Canterbury - nine rounds before the season-proper ends.
The Bulldogs sit stranded on 14 competition points and must somehow win six of their past eight games to reach the finals.
That winning run would seem incredibly difficult although Canterbury was courageous in their fightback last night
There is a theory, however, that 28 points may not be enough and it may take 30 points to qualify, given the congested field. Time will tell.
Last season, 27 competition points was enough for Gold Coast to secure eighth spot.
This could be the first season since 2004 that coach Des Hasler has failed to guide a team into the playoffs.
It will hurt the proud, two-time premiership winning coach.
Season 2017 has been delivered to Belmore from hell.
Canterbury re-entered the match - played before a crowd of 14,061 - when winger Brett Morris scored out wide just 10 minutes into the second half.
That try reduced Parramatta's halftime lead to six points.
With a massive amount of second-half possession, Canterbury finally cracked Parramatta's defence through a solo effort to bench half Matt Frawley.
The conversion levelled the scores at 12-all before Moses struck in golden point. The one-pointer came after a golden-point penalty, Parramatta's first since the first half.
Canterbury ensured a horrible start when winger Marcelo Montoya was sin-binned for a professional foul.
There were calls for a penalty try after Montoya shoved Moses out of the way when an Eels try loomed.
Both sides exchanged penalty goals inside the first 15 minute for a 2-all scoreline.
It took 22 minutes for the first try but it was a ripper. Parra ran on the last with winger Bevan French chipping ahead and regathering for a spectacular effort.
He is some player. The conversion gave Parramatta an 8-2 lead.
And Parramatta pushed further ahead in the 35th minute when big Semi Radradra surged over out wide. It came after a second bad mistake from Dogs fullback Will Hopoate.
Two first half tries gave Parramatta a 12-2 half-time lead.
It was the eighth time in the past 13 games Canterbury has failed to score a first-half try. In five other games, the Dogs scored just once in the first half.