Road to the Finals: Parramatta Eels
Current ladder position: Twelfth
Points differential: -96
Run Home: Sharks (A), Raiders (H), Bulldogs (H), Sea Eagles (H), Knights (A), Raiders (A)
Brad Arthur has done an exception job to get Parramatta back on track after disappointing seasons with Ricky Stuart and Stephen Kearney at the helm. The level of enthusiasm, and the availability of Jarryd Hayne has seen the club move into a position to make the finals for the first time since 2009 when they lost to the Melbourne Storm on Grand Final day.
Realistically Parramatta probably need to win five of the last six given their horrible for and against. It has to start this week with victory over Cronulla, a team that could destroy the finals charges of the Cowboys and Tigers over the coming weeks. Playing the Raiders twice should result in two victories. Their last two home games against Canterbury (transferred to ANZ) and Manly will prove difficult despite an excellent home record.
Injury wise Nathan Peats’ season ending knee injury against Penrith in round twelve that put the Eels on the back foot. He was being touted as a potential New South Wales Origin player at one stage and was in excellent form for the club.
It’s hard to see the Eels making the eight. They’ve lost four of the last five including to finals bound sides in Warriors (0-48), Storm (20-46) and Rabbitohs (12-32). And with the Bulldogs and Eagles in their final six games their season may draw to a close before the final round of the season.
Again, Brad Arthur deserves high praise for getting the Eels back to competitiveness.
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