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Knights vs Eels
NRL, 13 July, 2018
|McDonald Jones Stadium|
|Fulltime - Knights 18, Eels 16|
|Referee: Adam Gee|
|Touch judges: Ricky McFarlane & Michael Wise|
|Video Referee: Jared Maxwell|
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Round 18 of the NRL season sees the Newcastle Knights host the Parramatta Eels. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match from 7:55pm (AEST).
These are two sides that have fallen well below their fans’ expectations this year.
The Knights’ recruitment drive was impressive and they started the year well, but a long run of injuries has had a big impact and they are well outside the running for the top eight.
The Eels are currently last on the ladder and, together with the Cowboys, have been the big disappointments of 2018.
With both teams playing for pride only, we can expect an open game with plenty of points scored.
Back from a week off with the bye, Newcastle will still be hurting after a last-start 36-16 home loss to the Bulldogs. They do have a big in though, with Mitchell Pearce making his return from a long-term pec injury, which pushes Jack Cogger out of the 17.
However Kalyn Ponga is out with a hamstring injury, seeing Nick Meaney make his NRL debut at fullback. Danny Levi starts at hooker for Slade Griffin (long-term knee injury), while Daniel Saifiti returns as prop, moving Herman Ese’ese to lock, Aidan Guerra to second row, and Sam Stone out of the 17. Nathan Ross will start from the bench.
After a week off with the bye as well, Parramatta will be keen on playing well for the full 80 minutes after they let the Dragons off the hook in Wollongong a fortnight ago.
Parramatta are pretty much unchanged, with Tepai Moeroa returning from suspension on the bench, as Will Smith drops out of the squad.
The Eels have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks and should have beaten the Dragons at their last start.
Mitchell Pearce is a big addition to the Knights line up but he may need time to return to his best after a long lay off, while the loss of Ponga is a huge blow.
Eels by 10.