Date: Saturday May 16 2015
Venue: Pirtek Stadium
Eels: 1 Reece Robinson 2 Semi Radradra 3 Brad Takairangi 4 Will Hopoate 5 Ryan Morgan 6 Corey Norman 7 Luke Kelly 8 Danny Wicks 9 Nathan Peats 10 Tim Mannah (c) 11 Manu Ma’u 12 Tepai Moeroa 13 Anthony Watmough Interchange: 14 Isaac De Gois 15 Pauli Pauli 16 Richie Fa’aoso 17 Peni Terepo
Warriors: 1 Tuimoala Lolohea, 2 Jonathan Wright, 3 Dominique Peyroux, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Manu Vatuvei, 6 Chad Townsend, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 Jacob Lillyman, 9 Thomas Leuluai, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Bodene Thompson, 12 Ryan Hoffman, 13 Simon Mannering (c). Interchange: 14 Nathan Friend, 15 Sione Lousi, 16 Sam Lisone, 17 Albert Vete, 18 Raymond Faitala-Mariner
This Saturday’s fixture between Parramatta Eels and New Zealand Warriors has been overshadowed by further off-field dramas involving halfback Chris Sandow.
Sandow crashed a car he was test driving earlier this week as speculation mounted about his form at the western Sydney club that threatened to put his immediate career in jeopardy. It is alleged Sandow abandoned the car in an industrial estate in what appeared to have been extensively damaged.
Sandow’s form and latest incident combined with the recent controversy regarding the Leagues Club elections ends a troubled week for Parramatta. One hopes the Eels long term stick with Brad Arthur despite three wins in nine matches this season.
Former Storm player Luke Kelly will make his first appearance in the National Rugby League since round eighteen last year where coincidentally the Eels were kept scoreless against a white-hot Warriors side 0-48.
Joseph Paulo and David Gower have also been dropped from the Eels who are sitting in second last spot on the competition ladder. Tepai Moeroa will play in the second row and Pauli Pauli will start from the bench.
Parramatta will be hoping Semi Radradra can have more impact than last week where he returned from injury and appeared to have a quiet game with the Storm shutting down the flying winger on a couple of occasions.
New Zealand Warriors have a chance to stay in the eight after scraping home in a thriller over Cronulla at Remondis Stadium last Saturday.
The major talking point out of the game was Konrad Hurrell’s raised knee that saw Anthony Tupou break his jaw. The giant centre who’s had his fare share of issues with form this year was wiped out for the next three matches. Dominique Peyroux will take Hurrell’s spot in the starting thirteen. Sione Lousi will return to the side from the bench.
Shaun Johnson has been back to his best in the last fortnight. An impressive performance for his nation was followed up when he stole victory from the Sharks with a try two minutes from time last weekend. His influence on the team is enormous and if the players again this week feed off that energy, it could be a long night for the home side.
Parramatta have won their last two matches against New Zealand Warriors at Pirtek, both on March 9. In 2013 it was Jarryd Hayne’s hat-trick that blew the Warriors off the park 40-10 while in 2014 Semi Radradra and Vai Toutai scored hat-tricks in winning 36-16. It’s unlikely the Eels will repeat these results this weekend. But rugby league is a funny game.
Warriors to go back to back on the road and win by twelve points over the struggling Eels.