Eels title hopes take hit in Roosters loss

James Tedesco makes a break during the Roosters' big win over the Eels.
James Tedesco makes a break during the Roosters' big win over the Eels.

Parramatta's premiership hopes are hanging by a thread after Sydney Roosters put the cleaners through them 28-0 to move into equal fourth on the NRL ladder.

The Eels are out of form and could ultimately finish the regular season as low as sixth, having lost two of their past three games and with a nightmare run home to the finals.

The Eels play all of the top three sides - South Sydney, Melbourne and Penrith - over the next five weeks as well as Manly, who are also jostling for a top-four finish.

On the other hand, the Roosters revived their premiership hopes with five unanswered tries in Mackay on Thursday night, holding a team to nil for the first time this season.

The victory has set up a massive run into the finals as they face the Panthers next week followed by Brisbane, St George Illawarra, Souths and Canberra.

Their tenacity is even more telling given their horrendous injury toll this season, including eight players with season-ending injuries, three of whom were forced into retirement.

They added another injury to the list on Thursday night with Josh Morris sidelined in the second half with a hamstring injury which will further deplete their backline stocks.

The 34-year-old try-scorer is the third backline player to be injured in recent weeks after Joseph Suaalii (foot) and Matt Ikuvalu (ankle) both went for surgery this week.

It leaves the Roosters with just one player in their Queensland bubble able to slot into the backline, Moala Graham-Taufa, a rookie who has played just a handful of reserve grade games.

But for the fourth week in a row they battled through adversity to get a convincing victory with Morris, Daniel Tupou, Sitili Tupouniua, Joey Manu and Sam Walker all scoring.

The Roosters had a horror opening 15 minutes after turning the ball over 10 metres from their line four times, but still managed to hold out the Eels to lead 12-0 at halftime.

James Tedesco had an unusually tough time under the high ball and knocked on two bombs, while Morris and Tupou also coughed up cheap possession for a woeful 27 per cent completion rate early.

"It was a weird first half, we wanted to play some attacking footy but the errors were pretty bad," Tedesco told Channel Nine.

"We just had to get back to basics. Once we did that in the second half we started to get some momentum and scored some points."

But as bad as their handling was, Parramatta's attack was worse.

Without general Mitch Moses steering the ship the attack fell short and despite being gifted 17 tackles in the Roosters' 20-metre zone they squandered it all.

NSW half Moses is firming for a return from a back injury to face the Rabbitohs next week, but the Eels will be sweating on Reagan Campbell Gillard (hamstring) and Waqa Blake (concussion) coming back.

Both were taken from the field in the first half against the Roosters and didn't return.

Australian Associated Press