The Thunderbolts have fallen 38-14 to the Parramatta Eels U20s in their Round 11 clash at McCredie Park in Sydney.
The score line wasn’t a true reflection of the contest with two late tries to the Eels in the last four minutes kicking out the score.
A number of the changes to the team, notably halfback Brodie Croft who played for Easts Tigers in the Queensland Cup, saw a re-shuffle of head coach Eric Smith’s line-up with Talor Walters and Daniel Robinson making their NYC debuts.
The Thunderbolts put in a gutsy defensive effort, particularly in the first half with the Eels dominating field position. The home side opened the scoring with back-to-back tries with poor execution proving costly for the Thunderbolts when in possession, leaving the Eels to go into half-time with a 14-0 lead.
The Thunderbolts started the second half strongly with Connor Donehue scoring under the posts in the first two minutes with fullback Jesse Arthars adding the extras to open Melbourne's account.
The Eels quickly replied, however Melbourne refused to throw in the towel with back-to-back errors from the Eels giving the Thunderbolts some momentum.
Debutant Walters crossed in the corner before the Thunderbolts were back on the board again in a matter of minutes, this time to Jacob Tonge thanks to a powerful run from forward Charlie Galo.
Finishing strongly, the Thunderbolts held the momentum late in the contest before a relieving penalty propelled Parramatta upfield where they went on to score and put the result beyond doubt.
Melbourne will regret some missed opportunities and poor execution in attack against a strong Eels side who pushed their winning streak out to four.
The Thunderbolts have the bye the next week before returning to Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday 4 June to take on Penrith.
Eels U20s 38
Melbourne Thunderbolts 14 (Connor Donehue, Talor Walters, Jacob Tonge tries; Jesse Arthars 1 goal)