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Parramatta Eels edge Newcastle 20-18 as Knights confirm Taruq Sims move to Dragons

ABC GrandstandABC Grandstand 30/05/2016

Beau Scott of the Eels celebrates a first half try. © AAP Image/Darren Pateman Beau Scott of the Eels celebrates a first half try. Parramatta has begun its long climb back to NRL respectability, rallying to beat wooden-spoon favourites Newcastle 20-18 in a thriller at Hunter Stadium.

Coach Brad Arthur said on Sunday his embattled Eels had hit rock bottom in their year from hell and the only way was up.

His words proved prophetic as the win against the Knights on Monday night was their first since the NRL announced on May 3 they would be docked 12 points and fined $1 million for salary cap breaches.

But the Eels did it the hard way, losing skipper Kieran Foran to a recurrence of a shoulder injury before halftime and utility back Brad Takairangi to a hamstring injury, but dug deep when they had to.

Knights centre Nathan Ross scooted into the clear and thought he had scored what would have been a winning try in the 79th minute, but video replays showed he lost control of the ball after initially grounding it on the leg of Eels debutant Bevan French.

Trailing 10-0 after 25 minutes, the Knights rallied to score three tries to lead 14-10 at half-time then stretched that to 18-10 with a pair of Trent Hodkinson penalty goals early in the second half.

The Eels hit back with tries by French and Michael Gordon in the 59th and 62nd minutes to take a 20-18 lead, and they hung on against the Knights, who were chasing only their second win of the season.

The news only got worse for the Knights too, confirming only moments after the game's conclusion forward Tariq Sims was leaving the club to sign a three-year deal with St George Illawarra.

"Tariq had an option to extend his current contract for a further season into 2017 but opted to secure his future with a longer term deal elsewhere," Knights chief executive Matt Gidley said.

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