Preview: Parramatta Eels v Canberra Raiders
The Parramatta Eels will host the Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night for the final game of ‘Super Saturday.’ It will be a strong game from both sides, with the Eels hoping to get a win, as they finally welcome Mitchell Moses to the team.
Last Time Out
It was a long game for the Parramatta Eels last Sunday afternoon when they were demolished by the Sydney Roosters – not to mention the loss of Corey Norman who suffered a knee injury during the game. His departure from the field only made things worse for the side, who were outmanoeuvred by Robinson’s Roosters. The Eels managed to break the Roosters’ goal line defence only twice to allow Jennings and Gutherson to score their only points during the game. They seemed to lack communication and commitment to the game, which didn’t allow them to defend as well as they can be known for. The pressure they build in attack was never seen, which allowed the Roosters to gain more momentum and dominate the entire eighty minutes. They completed at only 65% for the entire game, and had 39% of the ball, giving the Roosters opportunity after opportunity. Overall they made ten errors and conceded six penalties which hurt both their attack and defence.
The Canberra Raiders played the Newcastle Knights on Sunday afternoon, and lost by fourteen points. The Knights were hopeful, and played with intensity and commitment; outclassing the Raiders, who seem to always struggle against Newcastle. The game was played at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, putting the Raiders at a disadvantage. While the Raiders started strong, they didn’t finish that way. They completed at only 69%, and had just less than half of the ball throughout the game. They made thirteen errors, and didn’t complete ten sets as opposed to the Knights’ four incomplete. While the Raiders are one of the best teams in the competition, their opposition gave them a run for their money, scoring double the amount of tries. The Raiders were no where near their best and it could easily be seen through the poor defence they displayed, especially in the latter parts of the game. The Knights stunned the Raiders in the second half, scoring three tries in just ten minutes, rattling and completely throwing the Raiders off their game, which is seemingly unlike Canberra.
Clint Gutherson and Blake Austin have both had incredible seasons so far, and will be looking to lead their team to victory after devastating losses last weekend. Gutherson will have more pressure on him in the halves due to the loss of Norman for an extended period of time – though it does highly depend on whether Moses makes the starting side in his first game with the blue and gold. Blake Austin is one of the best players in the game, and hasn’t had any success for his side in the past few weeks, making it difficult for him to perform. Nevertheless, he is a direct player and knows where to be and when, which is an important characteristic for a half. Should Will Smith make way for Moses in the halves, it will be a very interesting battle in the numbers six and seven on Saturday night.
This is easily one of the games of the round, and judging off last week’s performances from both sides it will be an interesting game to watch – especially if Moses makes his debut in the halves with Gutherson. Both sides should put in strong efforts to get back to their winning ways. Canberra by 2.
1. Bevan French 2. Semi Radradra 3. Michael Jennings 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Josh Hoffman 6. Clint Gutherson 7. Will Smith 8. Suaia Matagi 9. Kaysa Pritchard 10. Tim Mannah 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Nathan Brown 14. Beau Scott 15. Daniel Alvaro 16. Kenny Edwards 17. Siosaia Vave 18. David Gower 19. Rory O’Brien 20. Brad Takairangi 21. Mitchell Moses
1. Jack Wighton, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker, 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Blake Austin, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Junior Paulo, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Shannon Boyd, 11. Josh Papalii, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Joseph Tapine, 14. Adam Clydsdale, 15. Luke Bateman, 16. Clay Priest, 17. Iosia Soliola, 18. Dunamis Liu, 19. Jordan Turner, 20. Dave Taylor, 21. Scott Sorensen