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Eels vs Warriors
NRL, 18 May, 2018
|Fulltime - Eels 14, Warriors 24|
|Referee: Adam Gee|
|Touch judges: Brett Suttor & Belinda Sleeman|
|Video Referee: Steve Chiddy|
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The Parramatta Eels are just weeks away from even a mathematical chance of making the finals disappearing and must win when they host the third-placed New Zealand Warriors. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 6pm (AEST).
It’s been the season from hell so far for the Eels. After losing their first six matches, they won two on the trot and looked to have turned a corner, but the last fortnight would suggest anything but.
While they can point the finger at injuries, including one to Jarryd Hayne over the last two weeks, Brad Arthur’s side have been poor. Their loss to the Sharks two weeks ago saw 75 minutes of poor footy, while they battled hard against the Bulldogs last week.
Their attack possesses little strike, with Mitchell Moses and Corey Norman in poor form. The one glaring weakness heading into the season – their forward pack – has been shown up in a big way as well, and it’s making life very difficult.
The Eels’ struggles to turn things around can be best highlighted in their discipline. They have given away a stack of penalties, made far too many errors and as a result are often on the back foot in games, trying to defend their way back in while playing catch up footy.
In stark contrast, the Warriors have been excellent this year, but will be out to prove last week wasn’t the start of a slide.
They sat second heading into last week, but are third this time around after being beaten convincingly at home by the Sydney Roosters last week. While it’s impossible to go through a season without a few poor matches, the Auckland-based club would have wanted better in an important match against the boys from Bondi.
Stephen Kearney’s side can point at injury last week though, with both Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke missing. The dynamic duo have been in stunning form throughout 2018, with Luke in particular staking his claim as best dummy half in the competition.
Luke will be back this week and if back-up half Mason Lino can recapture his form, the Warriors could run a number up. They almost need to as well, given they lost 50-10 to the Storm three weeks ago.
It’s hard to say after the two losses, but the Warriors biggest trait this year has been a gritty, determined defence. Rushing off the line and defending with a compressed line has worked a treat, but the signs point to things starting to turn sour, so they must get back to basics this week.
Parramatta absolutely must win, but they just haven’t shown anything which suggests they are going to beat a Warriors outfit who have been solid. The chance of them losing two in a row seems slim, even without Johnson.
Warriors by 8.
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