Parramatta Eels vs St George Illawarra Dragons: NRL live scores, blog

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    Eels vs Dragons

    NRL, 18 June, 2017

    ANZ Stadium
    Fulltime - Eels 24, Dragons 10
    Eels   Dragons
    24 FINAL SCORE 10
    4 TRIES 2
    4 CONVERSION KICKS 1
    0 PENALTY GOALS 0
    0 FIELD GOALS 0
     
     
    Referee: Grant Atkins
    Touch judges: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski & Dave Ryan
    Video Referee: Ashley Klein

    While half the teams kick back this week, the Dragons will be taking a trip up the M1 to face a slippery Eels outfit at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium this Sunday. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 4pm (AEST).

    After shaping up against the Warriors in what looked to be a season-defining victory just a week earlier, the Eels failed to show up in Darwin and paid the price. Going down 32-6 against Thurston and his Cowboys.

    The Dragons on the other hand, resembled shades of 2016 with their only points coming from a Gareth Widdop penalty goal in a 13-2 loss to Canterbury. While they didn’t get across the line, they did repel the Bulldogs countless times despite a lopsided 406-304 tackle count.

    Kirisome Auva’a replaces Nathan Davis on the left wing while Michael Jennings is a chance of running out after he was named on an extended bench. If he does make an appearance, expect Brad Takairangi to shift back into the forwards with Will Smith being the likely casualty.

    St George will be without Origin heros Tyson Frizell and Josh Dugan. In his absence, Jason Nightingale will once again don the fullback jersey with Kalifa Faifai Loa filling the void on the left wing. Tariq Sims will start with Jacob Host set to make his sixth appearance of the season.

    It was a tough return for Corey Norman last week, but he should be feeling more at home on the familiar pastures of ANZ Stadium.

    The same could be said for Mitchell Moses, but with another week of training under their belts we might start to see some combinations stick.

    While some Parramatta greats have called for Gutherson to remain at five-eighth his presence at center gives Arthur some strike power out wide.

    If Jennings does return this week, The Dragons outside men will need to be on their toes if they are to repel what on paper is a lethal backline.

    The seeds of doubt are well and truly planted for the Saints after going 110 minutes without crossing the stripe.

    Provided Parramatta get on the board early, the Dragons could be in for a long afternoon of playing catch up footy.

    The Dragons have been a real surprise packet this year. While they failed to recruit any big name players, the ones that they have purchased have turned into Origin prospects almost overnight.

    Cameron McInnes and Paul Vaughan have proven to be some of the best buys in the franchise’s history. Their ability to play a power game through the middle that has placed the joint-venture club on track for a top four finish. The two don’t shy away from their defensive duties either as they amassed a whopping 101 tackles between them during last week’s loss.

    Despite what others will say, the Dragons boast arguably the best forward pack in the comp. So far, in 2017 they top the charts for most running meters. McInnes and Vaughan have been key in this but so too the likes of De Bellin and Packer. No doubt these players will be looking to aim up and provide some starch up front in the absence of Frizell and Dugan.

    The Red V also top the list for most offloads, producing on average 13.9 per game. If Parramatta fail to shut down the Dragons’ second phase play, they could find themselves on the back foot more often than not.

    Prediction.
    Both sides will be looking to find their attacking mojo on what is predicted to be a dry pitch at ANZ Stadium. Playing without Frizell and Dugan is not ideal for the Dragons but neither is their record at the ground. A loss here could place the Dragons as far down as 7th while a win for the Eels will keep them in touch with the 8. It may only be Round 15, but this game is vital in the context of the season. You’re only as good as your last game, but Parramatta should be better.
    Eels by 4.