Parramatta were left with just one man on the bench but produced their gutsiest NRL win in seasons to hold out a fast-finishing Warriors 32-24 at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
The Eels lost hooker Kaysa Pritchard (concussion) and winger Josh Hoffman (knee) in the first half, before interchange forward David Gower suffered a probable broken hand in the second.
Centre Kirisome Auva'a was also forced to play on with a knee injury late, while the Eels were already without captain Tim Mannah and chief playmaker Corey Norman.
Coach Brad Arthur revealed forward Nathan Brown should never have played with injured rib cartilage, but still ran for 182 metres and had a hand in two tries.
"He shouldn't have played, but we needed something from him," Arthur said.
"To play 80 minutes - he's not the biggest forward going around and they're quite a big pack - but he just kept carting it into them and taking his punishment."
The Eels had every excuse to collapse when a 14-point lead was reduced to two with eight minutes to play, but they instead sealed the match in the final minute when Clinton Gutherson crossed from dummy-half
"It just showed to me and our supporters and their teammates how important the win was," Arthur said.
"And how important this season is to them."
The victory provisionally puts the Eels into the top eight, ahead of Canberra's clash with Manly on Sunday.
It marks just the second time Parramatta have been there at the halfway mark of the season since 2010, but their performance had all the hallmarks of the Eels' spirit from their glory days in the 1980s.
Parramatta looked shot when the Warriors crossed twice in the last 15 minutes, but the visitors blew a chance with four minutes to go with a forward pass to unmarked winger Ken Maumalo.
Kieran Foran was the Warriors' best against his former club.
Booed every time he touched the ball early, he twice took it to the line to set up tries for Simon Mannering and Ryan Hoffman.
Hoffman's try in the 66th minute was followed by a Roger Tuivasa-Sheck special six minutes later as he beat four defenders and put the Warriors back in the match.
But even then, a resolute Parramatta still held on.
The match had earlier swung on a length-of-the-field Semi Radradra try late in the first half.
With scores locked at 12-12 and the Eels already down to 15 men, the Warriors had all the momentum when Shaun Johnson took the ball on the last tackle and looked to kick short 20 metres out.
However, he barely managed to get a boot to it, and the ball was spread to Radradra who ran 80 metres to give the Eels a valuable six-point lead.
After halftime, Johnson helped the Eels extend their lead to eight, when he was penalised for rushing off his own line to try to claim an intercept.