Mackay hosted its first NRL game since 2013 when the Roosters and the Eels met in a clash of premiership heavyweights on Thursday night.
The locals would’ve been primed for a high quality contest, but they’d have been forgiven for thinking they were watching reserve grade early on.
Perhaps it was the tropical humidity, but both sides dropped the footy with alarming frequency in the opening exchanges.
Pundits savaged the game online, calling “sloppy” and “awful”.
The injury-plagued Tricolours entered the game with the worst completion rate in the league and continued that trend early on, completing just three of their first ten sets.
Fighting to keep their top four spot, the Eels weren’t much better.
Parramatta spilt its lollies almost as prolifically as its rivals, completing three of its first six sets and six of its first 10.
Compounding Brad Arthur’s woes, the Eels were without forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard from the eight-minute mark, after the former Origin star picking up a hamstring strain in a tackle.
As a consequence of the poor handling, points proved elusive, before the Roosters’ Mr. Fix-It Joey Manu broke loose close to the Eels’ line.
The Eastern suburbs team scored off the next play, when Sam Walker sent Josh Morris over the chalk.
The Roosters doubled their lead minutes later through Sitili Tupouniua, who has now scored five tries from his last four outings.
It appeared Parramatta couldn’t catch a break — veteran winger Blake Ferguson left the field for a HIA late in the half after sustaining a large gash to his head.
Fellow outside back Waqa Blake followed him for an HIA of his own shortly thereafter.