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The Parramatta Eels return to their fortress at Bankwest Stadium to host the improving Wests Tigers in the second of three Sunday NRL matches. Join us here at The Roar for live scores and commentary this afternoon from 4pm (AEST).
The Eels got their grove back last week, albeit against a Knights side that barely fired a shot. It will be a sterner test this week against a Tigers outfit that scored a morale-boosting win over the Origin-affected Panthers. While the ladder-leaders had a number of key outs, it was the Tigers’ attitude and application in defence that was eye-catching; if they can turn up with that will to win once again, the Eels may be in some trouble.
The scheduling of this one means that Junior Paulo and Joe Ofahengaue are likely to back up for their respective clubs after Origin 1. The Eels lose Reed Mahoney, though, with Joey Lussick into the side. Haze Dunster did enough last week on the wing to maintain his spot and keep Blake Ferguson in reserve grade. The Tigers lose Thomas Mikaele and have Moses Mbye in some doubt as well.
It drew some criticism at the time, but Michael Maguire shifting Adam Doueihi to the centres has worked for the Tigers thus far. They have won three of four games since the shift, with a four-point loss to the Warriors the only blemish in that time. It has seen Moses Mbye get more involved, Luke Brooks take on greater responsibility and their defence improve. Everyone seems to know their role a bit better, and while it may not be Doueihi’s best spot, it is best for the team.
The Eels looked far more complete with Dylan Brown back last week. He provides an extra option and seems to make Mitchell Moses more relaxed. Clint Gutherson was also back to his busy self last week; maybe because he felt like he didn’t have to do everything. The loss of Reed Mahoney is a big blow, however. He provided some great touches and kicks out of dummy-half last week, and the Tigers will look to exploit that deficiency around the ruck without an established hooker to replace him.
The Eels have enjoyed a healthy run of form over the Tigers in recent times, winning the last six clashes between the two, including all four at Bankwest Stadium. Brad Arthur’s men have a better winning percentage against the Tigers than any other team. These two have already played this year on Easter Monday, the Eels getting away to a 36-22 win.
The Tigers would have gotten all sorts of confidence out of beating the Panthers. Regardless of who was in the team, it was a real boon for their mentality and teamwork, as they always looked the better side. The Eels got back to winning the games they are expected to, but questions still hover around them in terms of being a genuine top 4 side, and they will want to make it back-to-back wins this week.
The Tigers can trouble the Eels, and they can certainly score some points. While the scoreline could suggest otherwise, the Tigers were well in the game between these two earlier in the year, and even led at different stages. I think the Tigers will ride the emotion and confidence of last week into a third straight win, and leave the Eels searching for answers.
Tigers by 7
Join The Roar for live scores and commentary this afternoon from 4pm (AEST).
Kick-off: 4:05pm (AEST)
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
TV: Fox League, Channel Nine (NSW/QLD/ACT/NT), 9Gem (VIC/WA/SA/TAS)
Live stream: Kayo Sports, Foxtel Now, Foxtel Go, 9Now
Odds: Eels $1.25, Tigers $4 (odds via PlayUp)
1. Clint Gutherson (c), 2. Maika Sivo, 3. Tom Opacic, 4. Waqa Blake, 5. Haze Dunster, 6. Dylan Brown, 7. Mitchell Moses, 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 9. Joey Lussick, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Isaiah Papali’i, 12. Ryan Matterson, 13. Nathan Brown
Bench/Reserves: 14. Marata Niukore, 15. Shaun Lane, 16. Oregon Kaufusi, 17. Bryce Cartwright | 18. Will Smith, 19. Blake Ferguson, 20. Jakob Arthur, 21. Nathaniel Roache
1. Daine Laurie, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Adam Doueihi, 4. Tommy Talau, 5. James Roberts, 6. Moses Mbye 7. Luke Brooks, 8. James Tamou (c), 9. Jacob Liddle, 10. Alex Twal, 11. Luke Garner, 12. Luciano Leilua, 13. Joe Ofahengaue
Bench/Reserves: 14. Stefano Utoikamanu, 15. Shawn Blore, 16. Tom Amone, 17. Alex Seyfarth | 18. Michael Chee Kam, 19. Billy Walters, 20. Kelma Tuilagi, 21. Jake Simpkin