Date: Saturday, 30th August
Venue: Hunter Stadium
Kick-off: 3:00pm (local time)
Newcastle Knights: Kurt Gidley, Chanel Mata’utia, Dane Gagai, Joseph Leilua, Sione Mata’utia, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, David Fa’alogo, Adam Clydsdale, Willie Mason, Beau Scott, Robbie Rochow, Adam Cuthbertson. Interchange: Travis Waddell, Korbin Sims, Chris Houston, Timana Tahu
Parramatta Eels: Jarryd Hayne, Semi Radradra, William Hopoate, Ryan Morgan, Vai Toutai, Corey Norman, Chris Sandow, Tim Mannah, Isaac De Gois, Junior Paulo, Ken Edwards, Tepai Moeroa, Joseph Paulo. Interchange: Peni Terepo, David Gower, Darcy Lussick, Ben Smith, Pauli Pauli
The Parramatta Eels are undergoing an almost fairytale-like season after suffering two straight wooden spoons under the reign of Ricky Stuart. And the Western Sydney side have officially put the icing on the cake when last week they defeated the Manly Sea Eagles at Pirtek Stadium to reach 28 points and the finals.
Looking back on their previous seasons, no one could sincerely put belief into the Eels’ finals campaign for this season, but sitting on 28 points with two games to play against bottom-three sides, the faith is there.
The Newcastle Knights want nothing more than to end the season, they have spiraled through a chain of nothing but bad luck and with Rick Stone appointed for next season, they may as well begin writing their New Years Resolutions.
Although the only thing that has kept spirits below deficit in the Hunter region is the incredible wins the Knights have pulled off during the season, but only when at home. While away, they have suffered some heavy defeats, and last week’s game against the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium was no exception. But wins to the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters at Hunter Stadium have kept the team in good spirits and another shock win against a high-flying Parramatta Eels would be no exception.
The Eels have made the right decision and will enter Hunter Stadium with an unchanged squad from last week’s match. Whereas for the Knights we will see five-eight Jarrod Mullen replace fellow Country Rugby League five-eigth Michael Dobson while Timana Tahu will join the Hunter side on the bench for his first game of the season.
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