Nathan Smith previews the final match of the round as the Eels host the Dragons. Here’s what we have to look forward to…
Parramatta Eels Vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
Date: Sunday, 3rd April, 6:15pm (local)
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Parramatta Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Waqa Blake 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Tom Opacic 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Nathan Brown 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Ryan Matterson 16. Bryce Cartwright 17. Oregon Kaufusi 18. Mitch Rein 19. Wiremu Greig 20. Hayze Perham 21. Ky Rodwell 22. Solomone Naiduki 23. Samuel Loizou 24. Elie El Zakhem
Very few changes have been made to the Eels side that defeated the Storm. Ryan Matterson will return from injury and come off the bench. Meanwhile, Bryce Cartwright comes in for the injured Ray Stone, similarly on the bench.Embed from Getty Images
St George Illawarra Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Moses Mbye 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Jack Bird 12. Jack Gosiewski 13. Tariq Sims 14. Jack de Belin 15. Josh Kerr 16. Jackson Ford 17. Aaron Woods 18. Tautau Moga 19. Poasa Faamausili 20. Daniel Alvaro 21. Andrew McCullough 22. Jaiyden Hunt 23. Jonathon Reuben 24. George Burgess
The Dragons have made very few changes despite a heavy loss last week. Mat Feagai comes onto the wing for the injured Cody Ramsey, Jack Gosiewski starts in the back row for the injured Jayden Su’A and Aaron Woods will return from injury on the bench.
Referee: Chris Butler
The 2022 season is in full swing now. Now four rounds in, the fans have thus far been treated to a season that has been much closer and therefore more enjoyable than what was on offer in 2021.
Round three was one to forget for the St George Illawarra Dragons. After taking it to the Penrith Panthers in round two and nearly coming away with a win, they were thoroughly beaten by arch-rivals the Cronulla Sharks. They were simply out enthused and outplayed and will be sorely disappointed about such a poor showing at home.
Contrastingly, the Parramatta Eels were impressive against the Melbourne Storm after winning a thrilling golden point affair. They were able to affirm their premiership credentials by getting the two points in one of the harder road trips in the game, playing down in Melbourne.
This match presents itself as an interesting one and is definitely a dangerous game for the Eels. Parramatta’s big issue over the past few seasons has been their ability to be consistent in their performances. Last year, the Eels similarly took down the Storm in round two, only to fall to the Dragons a few weeks later in round five. They’ll be hoping there’s no déjà vu about this encounter in that regard.
The Dragons will be keen to write off last week as an anomaly. All teams have a bad one at some point. This week, it’s a fresh start and there’s no better way to set things right than to take it to a strong Eels side at home. One thing they can take confidence from is this: the Dragons have beaten the Eels in their last two meetings, both at CommBank Stadium. They have no fear of playing there.
For Eels fans, there is some excitement around the early season form of Dylan Brown. After a 2021 that he himself labelled “average”, he has shown glimpses this year that demonstrate his potential. Most notably, Brown was arguably more dangerous against the Storm than Moses, with two try assists, one linebreak and six tackle breaks. The fans will be hoping to see his trajectory continue to rise this week.
The Dragons will be looking to Ben Hunt to spark his side. To date, he has been one of their best players this season. In fact, without him last week, the scoreline is probably a lot uglier. Both Dragons tries came from his work and he was busy in the back of the field with 520m kicked, demonstrating his relentless efforts in trying to get them out of trouble. If Hunt delivers his usual reliable work, the Dragons are a good chance.Embed from Getty Images
- The Eels and Dragons have played on 39 occasions, with the Eels slightly ahead with 20 wins to 17.
- Despite boasting a strong record at home overall, the Eels have lost two of their three encounters against the Dragons at CommBank Stadium.
Parramatta Eels 13+
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