Match Preview – Eels vs Tigers (Round 8)
Date: Sunday 29th of April
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Kick off: 4:10pm
Head Referee: Matt Cecchin
Assistant Referee: Phil Henderson
Head to head: Played 36, Eels 20, Tigers 15, drawn 1
Head to head odds: Tigers ($ 1.81), Eels ($ 2.05)
Broadcast: Live Channel Nine: 3:30pm
Last four encounters:
- Tigers 30, Eels 20 at ANZ Stadium (2018)
- Eels 17, Tigers 16 at ANZ Stadium (2017)
- Eels 26, Tigers 22 at ANZ Stadium (2017)
- Tigers 23, Eels 8 at ANZ Stadium (2016)
The Warm Up:
This week’s round eight battle of the west pits the 16th placed Parramatta Eels against the 5th placed Wests Tigers for the second time this season. The first time these two teams squared off, it was the Tigers who ran out 30 points to 20 winners over the Eels. The score line in that encounter would suggest the Eels were in the game. However, a late flurry by the Eels brought the scores closer than they had been for the majority of the match.
The Eels enter this one having claimed their first win of the season, smashing the Sea Eagles 44 points to 10, whereas the Wests Tigers lost 22 to 20 against the Knights.
With both teams keen to claim a win, this is sure to be an interesting encounter.
Having a Punt:
This week’s value bet is for the Parramatta Eels by a margin of 1 to 12 points ($3.20 via Sportsbet).
The first try favourites are listed below:
Eels: Bevan French – $9.50
Tigers: David Nofoaluma – $10
Tigers: Malakai Watene Zelezniak – $11
Eels: Clinton Gutherson/George Jennings – $13
Feed Your Footy Brain:
Despite copping a fair bit of flak over his form in recent weeks, Parramatta Eels co captain Tim Mannah topped the metres run statistic last last weekend with 191 running metres (Champion Data).
Tracking: Bevan French
An uncharacteristically poor game against the Raiders saw Bevan French rested for last week’s clash with Manly. The flying winger has since admitted that his paltry 21 metres from two runs was the result of a poor reaction to a painkiller prior to the game.
Fortunately for French, an injury to Jarryd Hayne has opened the door for his return.
Within Hayne to miss around a month of football, it will be up to French to put the form on the board to justify retaining his place in the top grade.
This week’s danger man is the NRL’s latest feel good story, Wests Tigers fullback Corey Thompson.
Before this season Thompson couldn’t seem to find his feet in the NRL after struggling at a couple of clubs including the Canterbury Bulldogs. However, this season the determined fullback/winger has come along in leaps and bounds, pushing the talented Tuimoala Lolohea out of the top 17 in the process.
Thompson may be small in stature but what he lacks in size he makes up for in work rate and intensity. He is a 100 miles per hour player and his energy has been a major boost for the Tigers attack. Thompson is always thereabouts when tries are on offer, and would surely feature on the Eels tip sheet this week.
Parramatta Eels (16th coming into the round)
- Clint Gutherson (C)
- Bevan French
- Michael Jennings
- Brad Takairangi
- George Jennings
- Corey Norman
- Mitchell Moses
- Daniel Alvaro
- Kaysa Pritchard
- Suaia Matagi
- Manu Ma’u
- Tony Williams
- Peni Terepo
- Will Smith
- Kenny Edwards
- David Gower
- Tim Mannah (C)
- Tepai Moeroa
- Kane Evans
- Josh Hoffman
- Cameron King
Coach: Brad Arthur
Late mail: Tepai Moeroa is a good chance of forcing his way into the Eels starting 17.
Wests Tigers (4th place coming into the round)
- Corey Thompson
- David Nofoaluma
- Essan Marsters
- Kevin Naiqama
- Malakai Watene Zelezniak
- Benji Marshall
- Luke Brooks
- Matthew Eisenhuth
- Jacob Liddle
- Ben Matulino
- Chris Lawrence (C)
- Robbie Rochow
- Elijah Taylor
- Pita Godinet
- Josh Aloiai
- Michael Chee Kam
- Sauaso Sue
- Tim Grant
- Chris McQueen
- Tyson Gamble
- Mahe Fonua
Coach: Ivan Cleary
Late mail: No late changes expected for the Tigers although Jacob Liddle is in some doubt with injury.
Corey Norman vs Benji Marshall:
Before the commencement of this season, Wests Tigers five eighth Benji Marshall was expected to play second fiddle to Josh Reynolds. However, following the injury to Reynolds, Marshall was given an opportunity to impress.
Undoubtedly, the veteran Tigers playmaker has now reclaimed some of the form that made him one of the games best players about 10 years ago. The combination between the halves has been a feature of the Tiger’s strong early season form.
Benji still has the step and the flick pass that made him famous but it’s his role in steering this current Wests Tigers team around the park that is most admirable. This has taken pressure off his otherwise young spine by allowing the likes of Brooks and Thompson to play more free flowing football, chiming in as they see fit.
Prior to the Eels last start win against the Sea Eagles, Norman was arguably on the chopping block. With plenty of critics ready to pounce, Norman led the Eels to a 34 point victory.
Although possessing unquestionable talent, Norman’s biggest problem has been consistency. Delivering the occasional spectacular game won’t help an Eels team looking to string a sequence of wins together. It’s time for Norman to deliver every week.
And The Winner Is:
Altgough I’ve nominated the Eels by a 1-12 margin, the result is genuinely a toss of the coin.
The Tigers have good form on the board and the Eels will have taken great confidence from their victory last weekend.
I believe an Eels team playing with confidence can do more than just match the Tigers and that’s how I’m basing my tip.
Put me down for an Eels win 22 points to 18.
Man of the match: Clinton Gutherson/Mitchell Moses or Corey Thompson/Benji Marshall.
Enjoy the game, go the Eels!