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Eels put Panthers shocker behind to outgun depleted Rabbitohs

As for his contract situation, Arthur said: “I don’t know, you’ll have to speak to the club. Hopefully it’s [done] soon.”

Souths took an early 2-0 lead, but Parramatta levelled then Moses injected himself into the game.

The halfback finally got his right boot to work with a well-weighted grubber for his skipper Clint Gutherson to score.

Then the very next set Moses skipped through a gap, was tackled by Corey Allan before he squeezed the ball out for Blake Ferguson to clean up and barge over.

The Eels had their tails up heading into the break in front of another impressive 21,645 Bankwest crowd. That number was one less after a supporter wearing red and green stumbled onto the field early in the second half before he was quickly nabbed by security.

Ferguson copped a painful whack to the groin region and was in the sheds well after full-time receiving treatment.

Souths were always going to do it tough without NSW trio Damien Cook, Cody Walker and Cameron Murray, as well as Queensland regular Dane Gagai, but it allowed coach Wayne Bennett to bring through some youngsters, including debutants Connor Tracey, Billy Brittain and Bayley Sironen.

Tracey, who has overcome three ruptured ACLs, made a name for himself in Walker’s No.6 jersey, regularly finding himself in plenty of space on the left edge. Tracey has speed to burn and looked comfortable in the big time.

Late in the game the 22-year-old almost looked like bagging a try when Adam Reynolds put through a grubber and it bounced up into his chest, only for some good scrambling Eels defence to deny him his big moment.

“Connor was very good. He was exciting to watch. He’s got a future in front of him, injuries have held him back, but he got into that position tonight and showed everybody what he can do,” Bennett said.

“Britt was really good. He’s a guy we haven’t seen a lot of but he had a good game for us.

“It was good to have Adam Doueihi back. Everyone knows how much ability he’s got and he had to start somewhere and he started in first grade tonight, so it was a good effort by him.”

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Reynolds also got his side out of plenty of trouble with his giant right boot, especially early in the match when Parramatta’s defence muscled up.

There were fears the halfback had broken his leg six days earlier at ANZ Stadium, but he put his body on the line and tried his heart out. He reached for his back midway through the first half when he scooped on a grubber, but quickly shook it off.

Souths will clearly be better next Friday when they welcome back their Origin cavalry as well as star signing James Roberts. Bennett, however, was unsure how many of them would back up as he starts to navigate his way through the busy representative period.

PARRAMATTA 26 (B Ferguson C Gutherson J Hoffman M Sivo tries M Moses 5 goals) bt SOUTH SYDNEY 14 (T Burgess T Tatola tries A Reynolds 3 goals) at Bankwest Stadium. Referees: Gavin Badger, Adam Gee. Crowd: 21,645.

Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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