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2022 NRL Round 17 Preview, Tigers Vs Eels

Lachy MacCorquodale previews the Saturday night clash between the Wests Tigers and the Parramatta Eels.

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MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

Wests Tigers Vs Parramatta Eels
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
Date: Saturday July 9th, 7:35pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Related: NRL Team List Tuesday

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Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Starford To’a 4. Adam Doueihi 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Luke Brooks 7. Jackson Hastings 8. James Tamou 9. Fa’amanu Brown 10. Zane Musgrove 11. Luke Garner 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Joe Ofahengaue 14. Stefano Utoikamanu 15. Justin Matamua 16. Jacob Liddle 17. Fonua Pole 18. Austin Dias 19. Alex Seyfarth 20. Junior Tupou 21. Asu Kepaoa 22. Jock Madden

James Tamou returns from injury at the expense of Alex Seyfarth. Adam Doueihi starts at centre with James Roberts being left out of the seventeen whilst Austin Dias is replaced by debutant and NSW Under-19s representative Justin Matamua.

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Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Waqa Blake 4. Will Penisini 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Marata Niukore 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Ryan Matterson 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Tom Opacic 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Ky Rodwell 18. Nathan Brown 19. Jake Arthur 20. Sean Russell 21. Wiremu Greig 22. Hayze Perham

Junior Paulo is out for this clash due to his selection for the New South Wales Blues in the upcoming third game of the series next week. Marata Niukore starts at prop as a result. Ryan Matterson returns from injury and will start at lock.

Referee: Chris Butler

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

The Wests Tigers return to their spiritual home for just the second time this season as they host the Paramatta Eels at Leichhardt Oval. It’s not going to be a welcome homecoming for the Tigers, who are currently on a four-game losing streak which has seen them score just 36 points in that time, whilst conceding an incredible 132 points. On Sunday, the joint venture only managed to score a measly two points as they lost by 20 points to the Warriors in their return to New Zealand. It was a typical 2022 performance from the Tigers, another lacklustre performance which saw them have minimal chances in the oppositions red zone. They only managed 17 tackle breaks and one line break compared to the 39 tackle breaks and three line-breaks from the Warriors. Highlighting their inefficiency at creating opportunities in open play and their inability at preventing those same opportunities. Despite managing to force four drop-outs during the match, the Tigers failed to turn another of those into points.

The Tigers would love a repeat performance from their outing against Parramatta earlier in the season, where they won thanks to a Jackson Hastings field goal. It feels like a long time since that victory, the Tigers first of the season, the joint venture has only managed two further wins since. The return of Adam Doueihi into the starting line-up could provide that extra spark that the club so desperately needs, but a lot will need to go their way if they’re to win this one. Similarly, to the Tigers, the Eels are coming off a 18-point loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs, who put on a masterclass for their top eight rivals. It was just the Eels sixth loss of the season, and the club still resides in sixth position as the seek another finals appearance.

The Eels will be quietly confident heading into the weekend and a win could propel them into fifth position if other results go their way. Unlike the Tigers, the Eels have had no trouble coming up with points, having scored 20 points or more in five of their last seven outings. They have only managed to win four of those this season as their defence has loosened a touch, conceding 20 points or more in six of those seven matches. The Eels are coming up against a side that has struggled to score points over the past month, so this should give them an opportunity to keep a side below 10 points for just the second time this season. They did concede 21 points against the Tigers earlier in the season, but this Tigers outfit is playing like a shell of the side that won consecutive games in rounds six and seven. Given the Tigers woes in the middle of the park, the Eels elite forward pack will have an opportunity to stamp themselves on the game which is exactly what has caused the Tigers so much trouble this season. The return of Ryan Matterson will hopefully give the Eels some extra ball playing and grunt in the middle of the park in the absence of Junior Paulo who will represent New South Wales on Wednesday.

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INTERESTING FACT

This will be Parramatta’s first visit to Leichhardt Oval since 2013 and just their second time playing there in the past 20 seasons. The Eels haven’t won at Leichhardt since 2001 when the smashed the Tigers 66 points to 12, back in the early days of the Wests Tigers as a football club. The only Eels to have played NRL fixtures at this venue are Ryan Matterson and Mitchell Moses, both ex-Tigers and back-rower Isaiah Papali’i will experience his first visit to one of his future home grounds as he joins the Tigers for the 2023 season.

The Eels have a fantastic record over the Tigers since the beginning of 2017, winning nine of the 11 clashes between the two teams. The Eels have managed to score 20 points or more in their last nine matches against the Tigers, whilst the joint venture have only managed 20 or more points in five of those nine clashes. Prior to the Tigers victory over the Eels earlier in the year, the Eels had won seven straight against the Tigers, dating back to the 29th of April 2018.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Parramatta Eels by 18 points.

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