Nathan Smith previews Thursday night’s clash between the Eels and Broncos. Here’s what we have to look forward to…
Parramatta Eels Vs Brisbane Broncos
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Parramatta
Date: Thursday 21st July, 7:50pm (local)
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed 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. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Ryan Matterson 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Jakob Arthur 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Marata Niukore 18. Ky Rodwell 19. Ofahiki Ogden 20. Bryce Cartwright 21. Tom Opacic 22. Sean Russell
The only change from last week’s winning team is the return of Ryan Matterson, who will start at lock. As a result, Marata Niukore moves to the bench and Ky Rodwell drops to the reserves.Embed from Getty Images
Broncos: 1. Cody Ramsey 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Mbye 4. Zac Lomax 5. Tautau Moga 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Jack de Belin 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Billy Burns 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack Bird 14. Jayden Sullivan 15. Tariq Sims 16. Francis Molo 17. Josh Mcguire 18. Aaron Woods 19. Michael Molo 20. Tyrell Sloan 21. Jaiyden Hunt 22. Mathew Feagai
The Broncos welcome back a plethora of players this week. Corey Oates, Kurt Capewell, Pat Carrigan, Payne Haas and Cory Paix all return to the side. The other noteworthy change is the promotion of Jake Turpin to starting hooker in place of the injured Billy Waters.
Referee: Gerard Sutton
This Thursday’s match between the Eels and Broncos is shaping up as a definitive encounter for both sides during the run towards the finals.
Both teams sit on equal points as the fourth-placed side, the Storm, denied that spot only on points difference. A win this week for either side will launch their case for a top-four finish before the season’s end, while the loser looks likely to be resigned to finishing between five and eight.
The Eels’ have found some consistency, though it leaves much to be desired. Though they’ve strung together two straight wins for the first time since rounds 11 and 12, it has been against the bottom eight teams in an unconvincing fashion. Their run home sees them take on six top eight teams in their final seven games. This can be seen as ideal preparation for the intensity of finals footy, however, it will be up to the Eels to be ready for each challenge as they build towards September.
The Broncos further flagged that their culture of old has returned with another win featuring a heavily weakened side due to Origin. Kevin Walters has been able to instil the Broncos mentality within the team and can now cap off a remarkable resurgence with a possible top-four finish. Should they beat the Eels, they find themselves with a desirable run home where they will meet three top eight and three bottom eight. A strong winning run home would complete at least the first stage of the Broncos’ return to glory.
The Eels’ will be looking to their halfback, Mitchell Moses, to complete what has been one of his strongest years to date. With 20 try assists and 35 tackle busts, Moses is key to the Eels scoring points. What he will need to demonstrate now and over the next two months is that his mind is strong enough to handle the increasing pressure that he’s going to feel as each week goes by. It’s been 36 years for the Eels, and it seems around this time of year they remember that more than ever and let it get to them.
Naturally, the obvious choice for who will shape this match for the Broncos is their star signing Adam Reynolds. There’s no secret that his presence has been a big part of their revival. He has 13 try assists and 17 tackle busts, but his impact goes beyond stats and numbers. Reynolds has brought leadership and experience to a side with plenty of youth, and the result is that all those around him have been able to develop under his captaincy. His control gives confidence to those around him and is essential to the Broncos’ success.Embed from Getty Images
- These sides have not played in over a year. The last time they did (April 2021), the Eels’ comprehensively defeated the Broncos by 40 points.
- The Broncos last defeated the Eels in August 2019 in a golden point thriller.
- The overall head-to-head stats favour the Broncos, who have won 33 of their 61 games played against each other.
- The Broncos have never defeated the Eels at CommBank Stadium. Furthermore, the Eels have scored 122 points against the Broncos at their new home, while the Broncos have only scored 22.
Parramatta Eels 1-12
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