If examples were needed of Parramatta’s new steel, they came midway through the first half of their Shute Shield match against West Harbour at Concord Oval last Saturday.
Parramatta had established a 12-0 lead in a game played in a rainy and windy dark heaven.
They’d scored an early converted try after the mercurial Iese Leota pounced on a Wests mistake and raced 35m.
The Two Blues pounced again when Moses Tavola scored from a scrum win.
Then Wests had all the position and possession.
They were first held up over the line and then had a try disallowed for a knock-on.
Leota gave the Two Blues relief with a run to halfway but it was temporary, as Wests gained more possession and position.
The defence ultimately cracked but that limiting Wests to one try in that extended period gave Parramatta their 15-12 win.
The second half was just a slog in the conditions and Parramatta were defending their line again as the siren went.
It was an ugly win in ugly conditions and the Two Blues made it extra hard work through ill-discipline and a mound of penaltles conceded.
Still, Parramatta are now sixth on 25 points, seven clear of next best Warringah, and next host Manly on June 16.
Meanwhile, rocklike centre Damien Fakafanua missed Saturday because he was on duty for Tonga in the Pacific Nations championships and the Two Blue women beat Penrith 41-5.