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Semi scores four, Eels flog Dragons in NRL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 12/03/2017 Scott Bailey

Semi Radradra scored four tries on Sunday night as Parramatta made their best start to a NRL season since 1999, trouncing St George Illawarra 34-16 in Wollongong.

Radradra crossed for two tries in each half, as the Eels dominated the Dragons from the opening minute.

Michael Jennings also put forward an early contender for try-assist of the year when he flicked a ball one-handed between his legs to put the winger over for his second.

Radradra's haul was the first time he had scored four in his 70-game career, but also brought up his fifth hat-trick.

It marks the first time in 19 years the Eels have gone two from two, after defeating Manly last week, 20-12.

Clint Gutherson and Corey Norman again looked dangerous in the halves as the Eels ran away with the match in the first half.

The pair combined for Gutherson's opening try after 40 seconds, while Norman put in a perfectly weighted grubber for Brad Takairangi to score before halftime.

Norman then threw a long pass while being held in the 58th minute to give Radradra his third.

The game is just the second the new-look halves pairing have played together but, along with fullback Bevan French, the Eels look as threatening as they have for a long time.

French scored himself, dummying three times as he bamboozled the Dragons' defence in the second half in front of 16,023 fans.

He then laid on a brilliant inside ball for Radradra to score his fourth, putting the icing on the cake and sealing the win.

The Dragons looked more like the side, tipped at the start of the season to be wooden-spoon contenders, than the one who beat Penrith last weekend, 42-10.

Prop Russell Packer dropped the first pass of the match to help Parramatta to their first try, while they turned it over on their next set when Josh McCrone fumbled a ball on the last.

Gareth Widdop scored the Dragons' opening try in the 37th minute when he ran onto a Leeson Ah Mau offload to send them to the break at 18-6.

Josh Dugan and Paul Vaughan each scored in the second half, but there was no Dragons' revival as the Eels ran away with the match.

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