Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
The NRL action continues this afternoon with the match of the round between the Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels, coming to you from McDonald Jones Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 4:05pm AEST.
Adam O’Brien has done a wonderful job with his Newcastle Knights this season, and they get their chance today to claim a major scalp against the high flying Parramatta Eels. A win will announce themselves as a serious contender for this year’s premiership.
For all the talk about the no-call from the Bunker at the end of last weekend’s game against the Sea Eagles, there was little mention of how well Newcastle did to win with virtually an empty bench.
Their goal-line defence in that second half was special and Manly simply ran out of ideas.
Edrick Lee is out with a broken arm and Tex Hoy starts in his place. Sione Mata’utia suffered another head knock and is out as well, with Aidan Guerra starting. Star To’a and Brodie Jones have been named on the interchange bench.
No Mitchell Moses, no worries for the Eels as they humiliated the Cowboys last round. Dylan Brown took a leading role and showed how much he has developed over the past 12 months.
The key difference for the Eels this year has been the form of the likes of Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Junior Paulo and Ryan Matterson, with Nathan Brown also making his return from suspension.
Brown’s return sees Marata Niukore back on the bench, whilst Stefano Utoikamanu makes his debut. Ray Stone and Oregon Kaufusi drop out of the squad.
Crowds are still limited, but the Knights will be looking forward to playing back at home this weekend.
The battle of the packs could determine the winner of this, with Newcastle’s Origin front row taking on the form props at Parramatta.
I get the feeling, though, that the packs may cancel each other out, leaving Dylan Brown with less time on the ball to make decisions. The experience of Mitchell Pearce counts, and I can see the Knights getting home in a thriller.
Newcastle Knights by two.
When: 4:05pm AEST
Where: McDonald Jones Stadium
TV: Channel 9, Fox League
Online: Kayo, Live Pass
Betting: Newcastle Knights $2.35, Parramatta Eels $1.60
Newcastle Knights squad
1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Tex Hoy, 3. Enari Tuala, 4. Bradman Best, 5. Hymel Hunt, 6. Kurt Mann, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Andrew McCullough, 10. Daniel Saifiti, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Aidan Guerra, 13. Herman Ese’ese. Interchange: 14. Starford To’a, 15. Jacob Saifiti, 16. Pasami Saulo, 17. Brodie Jones.
Parramatta Eels squad
1. Clinton Gutherson, 2. Maika Sivo, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Waqa Blake, 5. Blake Ferguson, 6. Dylan Brown, 7. Jai Field, 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 9. Reed Mahoney, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Shaun Lane, 12. Ryan Matterson, 13. Nathan Brown. Interchange: 14. David Gower, 15. Stefano Utoikamanu, 16. Marata Niukore, 17. Brad Takairangi.