Late bloomer Brayden McGrady scores dream try on Dolphins NRL debut – but ruthless Parramatta Eels run riot on the Sunshine Coast
- Brayden McGrady had a dream start on debut for Dolphins
- Soon turned into a nightmare as the Eels were ruthless
- Parramatta in purple patch of form, genuine premiership chance
Rookie winger Brayden McGrady was in dreamland after scoring on his NRL debut for the Dolphins on Saturday – but his early joy quickly turned to despair as the electric Eels ran riot 48-20 after a record first half rout.
McGrady, 26 – who is the nephew of Bulldogs cult hero and 1991 Rothmans Medal winner Ewan McGrady – crossed in just the third minute at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
It proved to be the only highlight for Wayne Bennett’s men as they ever improving Parramatta flexed their premiership muscles with a commanding team performance.
Late bloomer McGrady should have snared a second try in the 11th minute, but instead of sprinting towards the posts, attempted an audacious flick towards teammate Kodi Nikorima.
The utility dropped the footy and the chance went begging.
Brayden McGrady celebrates after scoring a try in his NRL debut for the Dolphins
The 26-year-old showed neat footwork to cross the stripe in just the third minute against the Eels
McGrady’s heroics proved to be in vain, with the Dolphins blown away by a ruthless Parramatta (pictured, centre Will Penisini)
Mitchell Moses recovered from Wednesday’s Origin defeat for NSW to be one of the Eels’ best
It was in stark contrast to the away side, whose fans in blue and gold were in raptures at what their heroes dished up.
In a statement first half, backrower Bryce Cartwright produced some impressive touches, with teammate Will Penisini bagging an early double.
Lock J’maine Hopgood was also a standout and scored a barnstorming try, with teammates Andrew Davey, Clint Gutherson, Sean Russell and Bailey Simonsson all keeping the scoreboard attendant busy in a frenetic first 40 minutes.
Following a slow start to the season, the 2022 grand finalists are playing with renewed confidence and remarkably led the Dolphins 42-4 at halftime.
They were last beaten on May 13 – and with a bye to follow, have the likes of Penrith, Melbourne and Brisbane looking over their shoulders nervously.
Following a halftime spray from Bennett, the hosts added some respectability to the contest in the second stanza, but the result was never in doubt.
Fullback Gutherson rubber stamped the result late on with his 15th try of the year.