Nathan Smith previews the Bulldogs hosting the Eels in Round 14. Here’s what we have to look forward to…
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Bulldogs: 1. Jake Averillo 2. Jacob Kiraz 3. Aaron Schoupp 4. Corey Allan 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Matt Burton 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Ava Seumanufagai 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Max King 14. Zach Dockar-Clay 15. Corey Waddell 16. Joe Stimson 17. Chris Patolo 19. Matt Dufty 20. Bailey Biondi-Odo 21. Kurtis Morrin 22. Isaac Lumelume 23. Tevita Pangai Junior
Jake Averillo remains at fullback, with Matt Dufty named 18th man. Tevita Pangai Junior has been named as a reserve and could be a late call-up.Embed from Getty Images
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Waqa Blake 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Marata Niukore 13. Isaiah Papali’i 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Ryan Matterson 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Nathan Brown 18. Tom Opacic 19. Jakob Arthur 20. Mitch Rein 21. Bryce Cartwright 22. Ky Rodwell 23. Sean Russell
Maika Sivo will play his first NRL game of the year after being named on the wing. His return pushes Waqa Blake to centre and Tom Opacic becomes 18th man. Ryan Matterson, Junior Paulo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard have been named and are expected to back up from State of Origin.
Referee: Ashley Klein
The Bulldogs and Eels have shared an intense rivalry for over forty years. You have to go back to the 80s, when the two teams won eight premierships between them, to understand where it started. They played each other in the 1984 and 1986 deciders, with one win each the result.
Beyond that, they are two proud western Sydney-based clubs. There’s fierce competitiveness amongst the westies; a need to say the suburbs your team covers are the best, and that the juniors coming up in your region are stronger. Don’t bother asking each side’s respective fans for an objective discussion about these things.
It’s been a tough season for the Bulldogs. With only two wins on the board, they look like every chance of picking up a second straight wooden spoon. However, the past three weeks have shown life in their attack. Should they get their defence right, there’s no reason to suggest why they can’t begin to string together some wins and build towards next year with some big-name signings to look forward to.
The Eels have had an up and down season, with their form fluctuating every week. However, they now sit on two straight wins and will be eager to build on that streak going into the second half of the season. Sitting equal third on points, the Eels are one of a handful of sides who will be competing for the third and fourth spots of the top four. If they want to make it their own, they need to develop more consistency.
When things aren’t working, you look to change things, and that’s what the Bulldogs did by shifting Jake Averillo to fullback last week. He attacked the role with enthusiasm and performed admirably given it was a late change. As a Bulldogs junior, he is the type of bloke they want to see succeed, and he has every chance of doing so at the back.
However, the obvious stand-out performers for the Bulldogs this season has been their new arrivals in Josh Addo-Carr and Matt Burton. They will be a handful for the Eels to contain and will look to continue to build on their side’s developing attack.
The return of Maika Sivo will be an exciting prospect for the Eels’ fans. Having juggled a range of injuries to their edge players throughout the opening half of the year, the team Parramatta runs out this week will be their first full-strength one of the season. His stats in reserve grade over the past two weeks have shown he’s been far too good for his opposition at that level and one can expect him to find his way to the line at least once on his return.Embed from Getty Images
- The two sides have played each other exactly 150 times, with the Bulldogs holding a slight edge, having won 77 of those encounters.
- The Eels have a better record at Accor Stadium, having won 17 of their 33 encounters there.
- The Bulldogs haven’t defeated the Eels since 2019.
Parramatta Eels 13+
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