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2015 NRL Match Preview: Newcastle Knights vs Parramatta Eels

Date: 19.4.15

Venue: Hunter Stadium

Kick-Off: 4:00pm

Newcastle Knights: 1 Kurt Gidley 2 James McManus 3 Dane Gagai 4 Joey Leilua 5 Akuila Uate 6 Jarrod Mullen 7 Tyrone Roberts 8 Kade Snowden 9 Adam Clydsdale 10 Korbin Sims 11 Chris Houston 12 Tariq Sims 13 Jeremy Smith. Interchange: 14 Tyler Randell 15 Dave Fa’alogo 16 Joseph Tapine 17 Jack Stockwell 18 Sione Mata’utia.

* Just the usual change for the Knights, with Tyler Randell added to the bench and Sione Mata’utia dropping to 18th man. Expect that be be reversed on game day.

Parramatta Eels: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Bureta Faraimo 3. Ryan Morgan 4. John Folau 5. Reece Robinson 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Darcy Lussick 9. Nathan Peats 10. Tim Mannah 11. Manu Ma’u 12. David Gower 13. Anthony Watmough Interchange: 14. Isaac De Gois 15. Joseph Paulo 16. Danny Wicks 17. Peni Terepo 18. Richie Fa’aoso

* Richie Fa’aoso has been named 18th man for the Eels in what could become a remarkable return from a broken neck. No other changes.

Preview
The Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels will be out to reverse form slumps when they clash at Hunter Stadium on Sunday afternoon in round seven of the NRL.

The Knights in particular started the season strongly, winning their first four games on the trot before losing to St George and Cronulla in consecutive weeks. The major concern for the side has been their inability to score points, having crossed for just one try in the two losses, both in wet conditions.

The home side would have been hoping for a sunny Newcastle afternoon for the clash, however the forecast is for adverse weather, which the Knights have struggled to find their groove in. Coach Rick Stone will be coaching the wet weather basics this week in an attempt to fix their faltering attack.

For the Eels, their fans were getting excited after they demolished defending premiers the Rabbitohs a few rounds ago, only to see them slip to defeats against the Tigers and Titans in convincing fashion. It is a concern for the visitors, who were looking to start their season with confidence following the loss of Jarryd Hayne to NFL.

The key figure for the encounter is Jarrod Mullen. The Knights five eight can be instrumental in constructing the Knights attack, however has a tendency to go quiet when he needs to lead from the front. His kicking game is phenomenal at times, and for the Knights to find their way again, he must be at his best.

For the Eels, they will look for a strong effort from hooker Nathan Peats. The Parramatta number nine was on the verge of Origin contention last year before an ACL injury ended his season. He must recapture the form from previous to that injury for the Eels to get near the top eight this year, and that must start this week.

In a game that is forecast to be played in windy and wet conditions, with two teams struggling to score points, expect a low scoring and encounter. Despite not adjusting well to poor conditions in the last two weeks, the Knights should be getting used to wet weather football, and should learn from their mistakes. If they play a more direct style, they should come away with the points, however it all comes down to ball control in expected atrocious conditions.

Prediction

Knights by 2

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