French treble sees Eels bid fond farewell to Pirtek


Bevan French scored a hat-trick as Parramatta Eels eased to a 30-18 win over St George-Ilawarra Dragons in their final game at Pirtek Stadium.

The venue will be demolished and replaced with a new 30,000-seater stadium on the same site, with work expected to be completed by 2019.

The Eels have endured a tumultuous last campaign at the venue, with Parramatta docked 12 points for salary cap breaches, effectively ending their hopes of a spot in the NRL Finals.

Monday's victory would have put the Eels in a top-eight spot going into the final round of the regular season if not for the deduction, but instead both Parramatta and St George - also out of contention for the play-offs - were competing solely for pride.

French opened the scoring after 17 minutes from Semi Radradra's offload, before Kenny Edwards caught the Dragons napping to score from a quickly taken penalty.

Drew Hutchison trimmed the Eels' lead to 12-6 just before the break, but French completed his treble in the second half to put the game beyond doubt.

Good work from Clinton Gutherson set up French for his second, with a third coming as the full-back collected Brad Takairangi's superb kick at the end of an excellent team move.

Michael Gordon then converted his own try to make it 30-6, with a late double from St George winger Kurt Mann immaterial as the Eels bid farewell to their home in style.