After last weeks disappointing result the Parramatta Eels return home to host a New Zealand Warriors team that is rebuilding confidence after their one-point victory in Wellington.
Team Form Guide
The Eels were off the pace in round 18 and were punished for it being outscored seven tries to four with the only positive for the Eels being that they outscored the Sea Eagles 12-10 in the second half. Not allowing the Warriors to start the match quickly will be vital for an Eels victory.
New Zealand Warriors
After several close encounters, the Warriors kept their slim top eight chances alive with a 19-18 victory over the Sharks. There are still question marks on their last tackle options, but the return of Ken Maumalo will bolster the Warriors attacking potential.
Blake Ferguson is out with a knee infection which sees Josh Hoffman moves to the wing, and Waqa Blake comes into the centres for his first match for the Eels. Shaun Lane is also out injured with Marata Niukore taking his spot in the second row. Oregon Kaufusi and Daniel Alvaro have been promoted to the bench.
Parramatta Eels 21-Man Team List: 1. Clinton Gutherson, 2. Maika Sivo, 3. Brad Takairangi, 4. Waqa Blake, 5. Josh Hoffman, 6. Dylan Brown, 7. Mitchell Moses, 8. Kane Evans, 9. Reed Mahoney, 10. Junior Paulo, 11. Marata Niukore, 12. Manu Ma’u, 13. Nathan Brown, 14. Oregon Kaufusi, 15. Daniel Alvaro, 16. David Gower, 17. Tepai Moeroa, 18. Jaeman Salmon, 19. Andrew Davey, 20. Tim Mannah, 21. Ethan Parry
New Zealand Warriors
Ken Maumalo returns to the wing seeing Adam Pompey drop to the reserves, David Fusitu’a is out again which sees Gerard Beale move out to the wing with Blake Ayshford moving into his spot in the centres. Adam Keighran has been named in the reserves as cover for Kodi Nikorima if he cannot recover from the ankle injury he suffered in round 18.
New Zealand Warriors 21-Man Team List: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. Gerard Beale, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Blake Ayshford, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Blake Green, 8. Agnatius Paasi, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Leeson Ah Mau, 11. Adam Blair, 12. Isaiah Papali’i, 13. Jazz Tevaga, 14. Lachlan Burr, 15. Sam Lisone, 16. Bunty Afoa, 17. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 18. Adam Pompey, 20. Adam Keighran, 21. Ligi Sao, 23. Chris Satae
Head to Head
Played: 37, Eels 21, Warriors 16
Latest Result: Warriors 24-14, Round 11 2018
My key battle is between the leading try scorer Maika Sivo and the man snapping at his heels Ken Maumalo. Both men look to be in the driver’s seat for taking the Ken Irvine Medal this season with this game possibly being the ultimate decider.
Sivo has had a breakout debut season to date and shows no signs of slowing down. With Blake Ferguson not being named to play, the Eels will be sure to keep Sivo involved in as many of their attacking plays as possible.
There has been no player that has shown more improvement for the New Zealand side than Maumalo, and his return will be huge for the Warriors. He is integral in starting their sets off strong and has become increasingly more reliable under the high ball. After missing last week, the giant winger will be chomping at the bit to add to his 2019 try tally.
The Important Details
Date: 27 July
Venue: Bankwest Stadium
Kickoff: 3:00 PM (5:00 PM NZ time)
Who will win?
For Parramatta to win they need to take advantage of the Warriors weak defence around the ruck area. If the Eels pack can bend the Warriors defensive line, then it will allow Reed Mahoney to create scoring opportunities for his backline with some quick runs out of dummy half. If that ploy fails, the Eels can look to Mitchell Moses to put the ball in the air as the Warriors continue to be suspectable to tries scored via kicks.
For the Warriors to win, they will need to replicate what they did to the Sharks and keep the Eels camped in their own half, and if the Warriors can control the territory, they will be well on the way to victory. The forwards had a strong game last round but will need to bring their performance to a higher level, Blake Green and Kodi Nikorima will need to bring some variety to their last tackle options as running on the last tackle 80% of the time will not work here.
The Eels will be hurting after their round 18 defeat and will be looking to make a statement in front of their home crowd, and after five weeks of close battles, this match may be one tough match too many for the Warriors.
Eels by 14