Chloe Schibeci previews the Saturday night ANZ Stadium fixture where the Parramatta Eels are looking to bounce back from a loss when they host the Cronulla Sharks.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The Parramatta Eels have won two of three games this season. Last weekend against the Sydney Roosters was their first loss of the season, defeated by 14 points. Parramatta led 18-14, however, the Roosters scored three converted tries in the final 18 minutes.
The Sharks are two from three so far this season, after a game of two halves against the Cowboys in Townsville last Saturday night. Despite completing at 65 per cent, the Sharks managed to win by 26 points.
A handful of changes have been made to the Eels squad that was defeated by the Roosters in round three. Dylan Brown has been ruled out; Jaeman Salmon has been named in his place in the halves with Mitchell Moses. Tepai Moeroa will play at lock.
Parramatta Eels Squad: 1. Clint Gutherson, 2. Maika Sivo, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Brad Takairangi, 5. Blake Ferguson, 6. Jaeman Salmon, 7. Mitchell Moses, 8. Daniel Alvaro, 9. Reed Mahoney, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Shaun Lane, 12. Marata Niukore, 13. Tepai Moera INTERCHANGE 14. Peni Terepo, 15. Tim Mannah, 16. Kane Evans, 17. Oregon Kaufusi
Cronulla Matt Moylan has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury. As a result, Josh Dugan will take to the field as fullback while 18-year-old Bronson Xerri will make his NRL debut in the centres. Paul Gallen suffered a rib injury last weekend, however, has been named to play against the Eels.
Cronulla Sharks Squad: 1. Josh Dugan, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Bronson Xerri, 4. Josh Morris, 5. Sione Katoa, 6. Shaun Johnson, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Briton Nikora, 12. Kurt Capewell, 13. Paul Gallen INTERCHANGE 14. Blayke Brailey, 15. Jayson Bukuya, 16. Aaron Woods, 17. Jack Williams
HEAD TO HEAD
The Sharks have won their past five matches against the Eels and will be looking for their sixth on Saturday night. Both teams have had solid starts to the 2019 season, each winning two out of three games. Cronulla is off on a winning streak, while the Eels will be looking to redeem themselves after they lost to the Roosters late in the game last weekend. The last time these two sides met was at Shark Park in round nine of last season. Despite Parramatta scoring three tries in the final six minutes of the game, the Sharks won by two.
This game will be an important one for both the Eels and the Sharks as they try to gain momentum early in the season. It will be particularly important for Parramatta who are coming off a loss in round three. Both teams have had to make adjustments to their spines to accommodate for injuries sustained last weekend. Sharks lost Matt Moylan, pushing Dugan to fullback, while Dylan Brown has been replaced at five-eighth by Jaeman Salmon. It will be interesting to if the absence of Moylan and Brown has an impact on their respective teams, and how they will adapt without these players.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday, April 6
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Kick-off: 7:35 PM
Referee: Chris Sutton
WHO WILL WIN?
While both sides are capable of winning this match, more often than not, history can play a big role in the outcome of a game. However, it is likely to be a tight contest. Sharks by 2.