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Eels beat St. George Illawarrra in NRL

May 18, 2014

SYDNEY (AP) — Jarryd Hayne scored two tries and made a try-saving tackle as Parramatta overshadowed Benji Marshall’s return to the National Rugby League with a 36-0 win over St. George Illawarra in the weekend’s 10th round.

Hayne outplayed his Dragons counterpart, Josh Dugan, to almost certainly convince New South Wales coach Laurie Daley to include him at fullback rather than center for the first State of Origin match against Queensland.

Center Will Hopoate made a late claim to a Blues’ callup with a strong all-round performance: he provided the final pass for one of winger Ken Sio’s two tries and produced one-on-on strips from Marshall and five-eighth Gareth Widdop.

Marshall made his return to the NRL after an eight month absence, during which he made a failed foray into rugby union.

He was signed by the Dragons who hoped the former Golden Boot winner might spark their struggling campaign but Marshall was able to do little to help a team which completed only 19 of 31 sets of tackles, made 18 errors, missed 32 tackles and conceded eight penalties.

Hayne ran for 138 meters from 15 carries for Parramatta before being subbed after his second try in the 73rd minute. The Eels posted their sixth win in 10 matches to climb to third place on the premiership ladder while the Dragons have spiraled from the top of the table to 13th place with a run of six losses in seven games.

St. George coach Steve Price said he was at a loss to explain his team’s form slump.

“It’s a tough one to take,” he said. “We’re training outstanding but I just can’t put my finger on it at the moment... very frustrating.

“If I knew the answer we’d soon be going upwards from here. The only way to dig ourselves out of it is by sticking together and working hard, there’s no quick fix.”

Queensland fullback Billy Slater scored a double as fourth-placed Melbourne beat eighth-placed Souths 27-14. Slater scored the Storm’s opening try in the fourth minute, helping it to a 20-4 halftime lead, then raced 45 meters for his second in the 57th minute to suppress a second-half rally from the Rabbitohs.

“It was our best performance (of the season) by far,” said Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy, who marked his 300th match as coach. “Our defence led the way which is the way we like to play.”

Robbie Farah returned from injury to help fifth-placed Wests to a 22-20 win over the Sharks. Farah made 44 tackles and set up the 57th-minute try to Chris Lawrence that clinched the Tigers’ win.

Brisbane beat sixth-placed Gold Coast 22-8 and seventh-placed Gold Coast beat the Roosters 42-10.

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