Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
The NRL finals continue tonight as the Parramatta Eels host the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7:50pm (AEDT).
The finals race intensifies a further notch tonight. For the winner, a preliminary final awaits the same time next week against Penrith. For the loser, it will be a case of close, but not close enough.
It’s really hard to get a read on the Eels. After looking like world-beaters early in the season, they have lurched into the semi-finals. Yet, with the probable exception of their wingers, they are just about at full strength this week and could rediscover their best.
Their forward pack boasting the likes of Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Junior Paulo and Nathan Brown are on paper, at least, one of the best in the NRL. If they can dominate the middle, Clint Gutherson and Mitchell Moses should be able to create plenty of chances.
Maika Sivo is out with a knee injury and is replaced by George Jennings. Blake Ferguson is also in serious doubt, with Brad Takairangi his likely replacement in the squad. Waqa Blake could move to the wing. Marata Niukore is suspended with Ray Stone added to the bench.
After their demolition of the Roosters in the final round, the Rabbitohs got an early scare in their elimination final. The Knights got out to an early lead before South Sydney rallied and cruised away to a comfortable win.
Wayne Bennett has got his team playing good football at the right time of year and it is largely due to the improvement in his forward pack. Cameron Murray and Damien Cook are in form whilst Tevita Tatola and Jaydn Su’A are making plenty of metres.
Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds are terrorising both edges on the back of this go forward.
The Rabbitohs go in with the same 17 that defeated the Knights. Jaydn Su’A is listed to start with Liam Knight on the bench, but that may well swap as they did last weekend.
Although both teams have exciting backlines, it is the forward battle that will decide this one.
It will be closer than many people think, but I have to go on form here. The Rabbitohs appear to be peaking at the right time
whilst the Eels’ defensive issues have them on a slide.
The Rabbitohs will get home in a tight one.
Rabbitohs by 8.
Kick-off: 7:50pm (AEDT)
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
TV: Nine, Fox Sports
Live stream: Kayo Sports, Foxtel, NRL Live Pass, 9Now
Odds: Eels $2.85, Rabbitohs $1.45
1. Clint Gutherson, 2. George Jennings, 3. Waqa Blake, 4. Brad Takairangi, 5. Haze Dunster, 6. Dylan Brown, 7. Mitchell Moses, 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 9. Reed Mahoney, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Shaun Lane, 12. Ryan Matterson, 13. Nathan Brown
Bench/Reserves: 14. Will Smith, 15. Andrew Davey, 16. Kane Evans, 17. Ray Stone, 18. Oregon Kaufusi, 21. Daniel Alvaro
1. Corey Allan, 2. Alex Johnston, 3. Campbell Graham, 4. Dane Gagai, 5. Jaxson Paulo, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Adam Reynolds, 8. Tevita Tavola, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Tom Burgess, 11. Jaydn Su’A, 12. Bayley Sironen, 13. Cameron Murray
Bench/Reserves: 14. Mark Nicholls, 15. Liam Knight, 16. Jed Cartwright, 17. Keaon Koloamatangi, 18. Steven Marsters, 19. Hame Sele