Date: Saturday June 27th
Venue: Pirtek Stadium
Eels 1 Corey Norman 2 Semi Radradra 3 Will Hopoate 4 Brad Takairangi 5 Ryan Morgan6 Luke Kelly 7 Chris Sandow 22 Junior Paulo 9 Cody Nelson 10 Tim Mannah (c) 11 David Gower 12 Tepai Moeroa 13 Danny Wicks
Interchange 14 Darcy Lussick 15 Pauli Pauli 16 Daniel Alvero 17 Joseph Paulo
Knights 1 Josh Dugan 2 Dylan Farrell 3 Euan Aitken 4 Peter Mata’utia 5 Jason Nightingale 6 Gareth Widdop
7 Benji Marshall 8 Leeson Ah Mau 9 Mitch Rein 10 Mike Cooper 11 Tyson Frizell 12 Will Matthews 13 Ben Creagh
Interchange 14 Jake Marketo 15 Trent Merrin 16 Jack de Belin 17 Heath L’Estrange
The Parramatta Eels return home when they face the St George Illawarra Dragons at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday night.
The corresponding fixture between the two teams last year was best known for the debut of Benji Marshall at the Dragons. On that occasion it was a bad day at the office for the visitors but this season could be a different story. Benji has showed some good signs this season and will be looking for a big game knowing what he showed last season.
In team news, there is some big changes for the home side. The fractured cheekbone to Reece Robinson means a re-shuffle as Corey Norman shifts to fullback where he played during his time at the Broncos. This change means Luke Kelly returns at five-eighth. Will Hopoate returns from Origin as Ryan Morgan shifts to the wing and John Folau drops out. Cody Nelson will make his Eels debut at hooker in place of Nathan Peats.Danny Wicks will start at lock with Anthony Watmough injured, but there is some mail he may return from injury for the game.
The Dragons have named an unchanged team but their Origin players have had a big workload so there is some talk Josh Dugan could miss out.
This is a big game for the Dragons. They have struggled in recent weeks going down to the Bulldogs and the Roosters. Their defence, which they based their good form earlier in the season, has fallen by the wayside in the last few weeks so if they want to find that form again they should start there.
The Eels in the past couple of weeks have started strongly before fading in the back half of the game, most notably against the Cowboys. If they were to get a good start against the Dragons then they may be able to hold on because the visitors have struggled in attack. However, coach Brad Arthur will be looking for a complete performance after the week the team has had.
The distractions surrounding the Kieran Foran contract saga has to weigh on the side and with this in mind the Dragons will get the victory here and get their season back on track.
Prediction Dragons by 8.