The New Zealand let their opportunity of making a return to the Top 8 slip in a disappointing yet unsurprising loss to the Wests Tigers. What Warriors team turns up for their last game of the season will be anyone’s guess as they take on a Parramatta Eels side looking to end their season on a high note after sending their fans home happy with a win last week.

Last Time Out

The Warriors blew a chance to put themselves in contention for a Top 8 spot as a resilient Tigers side bested them 36-24. With a 24-18 lead heading into the final 10 minutes of the game, the Warriors folded faster than Superman on laundry day, conceding 3 tries in that period to lose the game. It helped to prove once again that nothing is for certain with the Warriors and that fans are getting sick of the constant disappointment. Coach Andrew McFadden would be walking on thin ice and feeling the pressure after the loss with the game against the Eels potentially his last in charge.

The Parramatta Eels played their last home game at Parramatta Stadium and gave it a fond send off with a 30-18 victory over the Dragons. Their enthusiasm in attack and defence couldn’t be matched by their opposition as forwards like Kenny Edwards ran rampant and the backs reaped the rewards. Two late tries to the Dragons inflated the scoreline in what was an otherwise dominant performance from the Eels with young star Bevan French crossing for a hat-trick in his first official game at fullback.

Key Battle

The Warriors against themselves. With the pressure of making the finals lifted off their shoulders, the Warriors could easily rack up a big score in a game where they can play as much crazy, unstructured footy as they like. It could also just as easily be a game where their spirits are completely deflated and they turn in an uninspired, lazy performance.

It’s a game that has little to no meaning on paper but for the players it’s a chance to end their season with a bit of pride in their performance. Whether that’s drilled into them through the leaders in the playing group or by the coaching staff, they’ll want to stand tall at the end of this game instead of kneeling on the ground. If they can get past the disappointment of last week and play with some heart then it’ll be evident in their performance. If they don’t then the Eels will run riot over them.

Prediction

I think the Warriors will put in a fairly energetic performance now that they don’t have any expectations left of them while the Eels will continue to put their best foot forward and give it their all as a result of the good work by coach Brad Arthur. I think it’ll be a competitive, high scoring game where the Eels will be able to dig just that little bit deeper and find the desire to win over their topsy turvy opponents. Eels by 6+

Squads
New Zealand Warriors
1 Tuimoala Lolohea
2 Jonathan Wright
3 Blake Ayshford
4 David Fusitu’a
5 Ken Maumalo
6 Thomas Leuluai
7 Shaun Johnson
8 Jacob Lillyman
9 Issac Luke
10 Albert Vete
11 Bodene Thompson
12 Ryan Hoffman ©
13 Simon Mannering
Interchange:
14 Ata Hingano
15 Sam Lisone
16 Ben Matulino
17 Bunty Afoa
18 Nathaniel Roache

Parramatta Eels
1 Bevan French
2 Semi Radradra
3 Michael Jennings
4 Brad Takairangi
5 Michael Gordon
6 Clint Gutherson
7 Jeff Robson
8 Danny Wicks
9 Isaac De Gois
10 Tim Mannah
11 Manu Ma’u
12 Tepai Moeroa
13 Beau Scott ©
Interchange
14 Kaysa Pritchard
15 Kenny Edwards
16 Peni Terepo
17 Daniel Alvaro
18 David Gower