After both recording disappointing 2012 NRL campaigns the Parramatta Eels and New Zealand Warriors meet tonight to show who is set to climb the NRL ladder this year and who is set to remain among the also-rans. We’ll have live scores from 5.30pm AEDT.
Each side boasts a new coach in charge for season 2013, with Ricky Stuart retiring from Origin duties to helm the Eels and Matthew Elliott making a surprise return to the top grade across the ditch with the Warriors.
In addition to this the blue and golds will be facing up to life without retired legends Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt, and are sure to be tested by a sizzling Warriors backline featuring young guns Konrad Hurrell and Glen Fisiiahi.
The Warriors aren’t without their own problems though, as the loss of hooker Nathan Friend to injury is sure to hurt the side’s already often porous defence.
In addition, James Maloney (Roosters), Micheal Luck (retired) and Krisnan Inu (Bulldogs) are all gone from New Zealand club and it will be interesting to see how Elliott tries to plug the gaps.
All signs then point to an open game of football, and with players like Feleti Mateo, Jarryd Hayne and Chris Sandow on the paddock keen to impress, you can be sure the scoreboard attendant won’t be taking too many toilet breaks during this match.
This one could go either way, but the Ricky Stuart factor might be enough for the Eels to get 2013 underway with a win. Find out as the action unfolds from 5.30pm AEDT.