NRL: Undermanned Sydney Roosters hold off Parramatta Eels

An injury-hit Sydney Roosters side have handed Parramatta their first defeat of the NRL season with a gritty 32-18 victory at ANZ Stadium.

The lead changed five times in a willing opening hour on Friday night, including a 13-minute four-try blitz that saw the Eels go ahead by two points.

However, the reigning premiers, who lost Jake Friend and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to injury mid-match, drew on their big-game nous to finish strongly.

Victor Radley caught out a tiring Eels middle to burrow over in the 62nd minute, before Sio Siua Taukeiaho sealed the victory not long after.

James Tedesco, who was arguably the Roosters' best, put the icing on the cake with his second try in the closing stages.

"What are you supposed to say as a coach when you sit up here, you leak 18 points and it's one of those games," Roosters coach Trent Robinson said.

"But I was really happy with the way they handled, especially the back-end of the game. I thought that showed really good class."

The Eels appeared on their way to a third straight win to start the year when Maika Sivo scored his second try in the 59th minute.

Sivo was one of the Parramatta's best along with prop Junior Paulo, who set up two of his team's three tries with a powerhouse performance.

But it wasn't enough as Robinson's slow-burning side, also without the injured Cooper Cronk, came to life with a dominant final quarter.

It looked like a pointsfest was on the cards when Blake Ferguson and Tedesco traded tries inside the opening ten minutes.

Much of the build-up had centred on Ferguson's first match against his former club, and the in-form winger delivered with the opening points.

But the Roosters pulled back a gear in an attempt to wear the Eels out, opting for two penalty goals for an 8-6 halftime lead.

It appeared that approach may have cost them when they lost Friend to a shoulder issue and Waerea-Hargreaves to a rib complaint either side of the break.

Sivo then crossed for his first to turn a two-point deficit into a four-point lead.

But the Roosters fought back through Mitchell Aubusson, before being forced to come back from behind again to record their second win of the season.

Eels coach Brad Arthur was filthy with his team's second-half goalline defence.

"The tries were soft in the second half," he said.

"We came here tonight looking for an opportunity and we gave ourselves a real good opportunity with 20 minutes to go.

"We can say that we turned over some cheap possession at times and didn't quite get the detail right with some silly errors.

"But at the end of the day, if we want to mix it with the really good teams, we've got to be harder with our defence on the tryline."