Parramatta's miserable start to the NRL season continued on Sunday, despite falling by just one point to Wests Tigers as star recruit Chris Sandow watched on from the stands.
The Eels scored five converted tries in the last 13 minutes to roar home - but fell agonisingly short of the valuable two competition points, with Benji Marshall's first-half field goal the difference for the Tigers in the 31-30 victory.
Advertisement: Story continues below For 67 minutes, the Eels looked like a rabble, and the Tigers were in cruise control, going ahead with first-half tries to Chris Lawrence, Beau Ryan and Liam Fulton, before a second-half double to bench forward Ben Murdoch-Masila looked to have ended the game with 20 minutes to play.
But the Eels mounted an unlikely fightback, started by unheralded prop Matt Ryan crashing over in the 67th minute.
His four-pointer was followed by tries to Willie Tonga, Ken Sio, Jarryd Hayne and an 80th-minute effort to Cheyse Blair to ensure the one-point fulltime margin.
Sandow, lured to the Eels on a big money deal from South Sydney in the off-season, has been the focal point of criticism directed at Parramatta's horrendous form which has reaped just one victory in 2012.
The Tigers have also endured a sluggish start to the season but, despite never getting out of second gear, did more than enough to secure their third win of the year and move within two points of the top eight.
Tigers captain Robbie Farah did his NSW State of Origin aspirations no harm, setting up centre Lawrence's soft try in the 11th minute.
Sandow's replacement at No.7, utility Casey McGuire, had a forgettable afternoon and was found on report twice - for high tackles on Tim Moltzen and Farah, while teammate Mitchell Allgood was on report for a high shot on Benji Marshall.
Parramatta's attack twice descended into farce, firstly when five-eighth Ben Roberts threw a pass roughly 15 metres forward late in the first half - and then when prop Fuifui Moimoi committed one of the most blatant double movements while attempting to score in the second half.
WESTS TIGERS 31 (B Murdoch-Masila 2 L Fulton C Lawrence B Ryan tries B Marshall 4 T Moltzen goals B Marshall field goal) bt PARRAMATTA 30 (C Blair J Hayne M Ryan K Sio W Tonga tries L Burt 5 goals) at Parramatta Stadium. Referee: Gavin Morris, Ashley Klein. Crowd: 19,654.