Date: Saturday 6th September
Venue: GIO Stadium
Canberra Raiders: Jack Wighton, Bill Tupou, Jarrod Croker, Jeremy Hawkins, Edrick Lee, Anthony Milford, Mitch Cornish, Shannon Boyd, Glen Buttriss, Brett White, Josh Papalii, Jarrad Kennedy, Joel Edwards. Interchange: Josh McCrone, Matt McIlwrick, Dane Tilse, Paul Vaughan
Parramatta Eels: Jarryd Hayne (c), Semi Radradra, William Hopoate, Ryan Morgan, Ken Sio, Corey Norman, Chris Sandow, Tim Mannah (c), Isaac De Gois, Junior Paulo, Kenny Edwards, Tepai Moeroa, Joseph Paulo. Interchange: Peni Terepo, David Gower, Darcy Lussick, Ben Smith
It is now or never for the Parramatta Eels as they travel to Canberra in need of a win if they are to advance to the finals and extend their season.
Canberra Raiders will be no push overs though as they have recorded back to back wins for the first time this season with a late resurgence despite languishing in second bottom.
The Eels are relying on other results to go their way too as they need Storm to beat Broncos and Panthers to beat Warriors along with their own victory against Canberra to make the eight.
It is a complicated equation which could have been made easier had they beat the Knights in Round 25 however they put the Eels to the sword with a 42-12 hammering.
The Raiders recent form has made sure they will avoid this year’s wooden spoon as they put away the Tigers with a 27-12 win in the last round and a victory in their final game of the season could see them finish 14th.
In team news, Brett White returns for the home side to play his final NRL game with Dane Tilse moving to bench and Kyle O’Donnell playing in the NSW Cup.
The Eels are unchanged although Ben Smith has accepted an early guilty plea for a crusher tackle and his replacement will be named before kick-off.
To say the Raiders have nothing to play for is nonsense and they will come out fighting in front of their home fans at GIO Stadium to give them a season finale they deserve.
If the Eels are going to make finals footy they are going to have to do it the hard way although with Jarryd Hayne in a blue and gold jersey anything is possible.
Ladder Position: 15th, 18 points, -170
Last 5: WWLLL
Last Win: vs Tigers (H), 27-12, Round 25
Last Defeat: vs Dragons (H), 16-34, Round 23
Last time they met: L Away, 18-10, Round 22
Ladder Position: 10th, 28 points, -90
Last 5: LWLWW
Last Win: vs Manly (H), 22-12, Round 24
Last Defeat: vs Knights (A), 42-12, Round 25
Last time they met: W Home, 18-10, Round 22
The Green Machine will prove to be a stern test but the Eels are desperate for a win and I’m tipping them to edge it. Eels by 8.