Nathan Smith previews the Sea Eagles against the Eels. Here’s what we have to look forward to…
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Sea Eagles: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 3. Morgan Harper 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Toafofoa Sipley 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Andrew Davey 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Dylan Walker 15. Ben Trbojevic 16. Martin Taupau 17. Morgan Boyle 18. Josh Schuster 19. Ethan Bullemor 20. Kurt De Luis 21. Kaeo Weekes 22. Brad Parker
Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Tolutau Koula, Haumole Olakau’atu and Toafofoa Sipley all return to the starting side. Furthermore, Ben Trbojevic returns after receiving a head knock in Round 19. Andrew Davey suffered a head knock against the Roosters but has been named to play.Embed from Getty Images
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Tom Opacic 5. Waqa Blake 6. Dylan Brown 7. Jakob Arthur 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Ryan Matterson 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Bryce Cartwright 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Marata Niukore 18. Ofahiki Ogden 19. Hayze Perham 20. Brendan Hands 21. Sean Russell 22. Elie El Zakhem
Jake Arthur will take over as halfback for the injured Mitchell Moses in the only change to last week’s winning side.
Referee: Gerard Sutton
One of the great rugby league rivalries sees another chapter added in an all-important Round 21 clash. The Sea Eagles come into this match knowing another loss makes it very difficult to keep in touch with the top eight, while the Eels will be hoping to follow up their premier toppling performance with another win in their quest to build momentum for the finals.
The circumstances of the Sea Eagles’ match last week certainly make their performance seem admirable. With seven key players missing, they would only lose by ten points to a full-strength Roosters outfit. It was a backs-against-the-wall type of performance that Hasler is known to get from his teams, and will drive them coming into this round. The unknown, of course, is how the team trains, gels and plays with the players coming back in after missing last week’s game.
As is par the course for their season, the Eels followed up a disappointing loss with a strong performance and win. Up against the Penrith Panthers no less, the Eels demonstrated why they still have a chance to shake up the finals series’ after completing a sweep against the Panthers in the 2022 season. However, they will reflect on their second half with disappointment, knowing it could have been a real statement against a team missing their chief playmaker.
Last week, Daly Cherry-Evans demonstrated outstanding leadership in guiding his vastly inexperienced side to a close loss against the Roosters. It emphasises why he is one of the premier halfbacks of the game, and the Sea Eagles will need every ounce of his brilliance to shine on Friday night to keep their season alive.
The Eels find themselves without their halfback, Mitchell Moses, for the rest of the regular season. It’s a huge loss. One only needs to reflect on last week’s win, which was largely orchestrated by both Moses and Dylan Brown, to understand that. In his place comes Jake Arthur, the young halfback who has copped a bit of criticism from Eels’ fans in recent weeks. It has been grossly unfair on the young man, who at 19 can’t be held accountable for the side’s performances. It should be expected that Brown will organise and run the side come Friday night, with Arthur there to support him.Embed from Getty Images
- The Eels haven’t defeated the Sea Eagles at 4 Pines Park since 2017.
- The last time these two teams met at 4 Pines Park, the Sea Eagles thrashed the Eels 56-10.
- They’ve met for a total of 146 times, with the Sea Eagles vastly superior at 87 wins to 55.
- In the 66 games played at 4 Pines Park, the Eels have only won 20.
Parramatta Eels 1-12
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