Nathan Smith previews the round four clash between the Canberra Raiders and Parramatta Eels.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Canberra have shown a lot of promise this season. They’ve won three from four and were impressive against the Cowboys last week, particularly when under pressure in the final twenty minutes.
Parramatta has been in good form this year. They were sharp in attack last week against the Sharks and hold an identical record to Canberra, with three wins from four rounds.
Canberra’s forward pack will be bolstered by the return of Joseph Tapine. He will start on the bench after recovering from a thumb injury. Aidan Sezer has been named in the reserves but is unlikely to play.
Canberra Raiders squad: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker, 4. Joseph Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Sam Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. John Bateman, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Ryan Sutton, 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Hudson Young, 16. Iosia Soliola, 17. Joseph Tapine, 18. Joyce Hunt, 19. Aidan Sezer, 20. Bailey Simonsson, 21. JJ Collins.
The Eels haven’t made any changes this week, with Brad Arthur sticking with the same 17 who got the job done last week.
Parramatta Eels squad: 1. Clinton Gutherson, 2. Maika Sivo, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Brad Takairangi, 5. Blake Ferguson, 6. Jaeman Salmon, 7. Mitchell Moses, 8. Daniel Alvaro, 9. Reed Mahoney, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Shaun Lane, 12. Marata Niukore, 13. Repai Moeroa, 14. Peni Terepo, 15. Tim Mannah, 16. Kane Evans, 17. Oregon Kaufusi, 18. David Gower, 19. Raymond Stone, 20. Josh Hoffman, 21. Bevan French.
HEAD TO HEAD
Canberra have won their past four meetings against Parramatta. Most recently, they defeated the Eels 18-2 in 2018. Their head-to-head form overall is quite close. Of their 56 games since 1998, Canberra has won 30 to Parramatta’s 26. Eels fans will be well aware that their form at GIO Stadium is terrible. In 21 meetings, Canberra has won 17 to Parramatta’s four.
Michael Jennings v Jarrod Croker. The two veteran centres will fight out what should be an exciting battle. Their 2019 stats tell the story: Croker has scored three tries, 12 points and his tackle efficiency sits at 81.4%. Jennings has four tries, 289 running metres and a tackle efficiency at 84.7%. The stats tell us both men are playing well in both attack and defence and will be immense value to either side in their search for victory.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday 14th of April
Venue: GIO Stadium
Kick-off: 6.10pm (local)
Referee: Henry Perenara, Tim Roby
WHO WILL WIN?
It will be a close game, however Canberra at home are always hard to beat. Factor in Parramatta’s poor form at GIO Stadium, and you get the feeling this match might be a little too difficult for them.
Canberra by eight.