NRL Team List
As COVID-19 rears its head once again amidst a flurry of second wave outbreaks across Victoria and now NSW, the NRL has moved quickly to re-activate strict bubble protocols. There is even talk about shifting the entire competition to Queensland in an attempt to stay ahead of a potential explosive spread of the pandemic. The Melbourne Storm have already made that jump given the dire state of affairs in Victoria and I have to think that the Sunshine State would welcome the wholesale move with open arms. Even if Queensland were to only to host the likes of the Eels, Panthers and Roosters, the ‘heartland of rugby league’ would surely love to recall what it is like to have one let alone three competitive teams based in its backyard!
Back on the important stuff now and the Parramatta Eels faced a nervous wait on multiple fronts in the wake of their torrid 10-4 victory over the Newcastle Knights in Round 9. From Junior Paulo’s back spasms, to Stefano Utoikamanu’s unfortunate breach of COVID-19 protocols and finally Waqa Blake’s nervous 24-hour wait on the Match Review Committee. Thankfully, Waqa escaped the game with no charges (and just as well) while Stefano was cleared of an infection earlier this afternoon. The biggest boost of all though comes on the stroke of 4:00PM as Brad Arthur names Junior to his starting team.
Otherwise there are no reinforcements for the Eels this week. Mitchell Moses was deemed to be a real shot at returning this week but ‘BA’ has taken the safety first approach (perhaps with the Brookvale bog in mind) and left him out of the TLT-21 completely. Jai Field has held down the fort admirably in his place and could be a real factor against the fraying edge defence of the Sea Eagles in Round 10.
A host of Eels will be looking for bounceback efforts in attack on Saturday night, chief among them Dylan Brown. The blossoming superstar was decidedly out-of-sync against the Newcastle Knights and I have zero doubts he will be focused on nailing his fundamentals against the Sea Eagles.
Manly will be without their hugely talented prop Addin Fonua-Blake as he serves the last week of a suspension for a vile tirade against an official and the importance of his absence should be stressed for a team that is genuinely struggling currently. Their pack still boasts talents like Martin Taupau and Jake Trbojevic, the latter of whom will be locked in an epic tussle with Nathan Brown over the course of the game, but their go-forward and line-breaking ability through the middle starts with Fonua-Blake.
While the Eels prevailed over their arch-rivals in controversial circumstances way back in Round 4, the focus this week will be looking to build on the lessons from that game. Leading 18-2 earling in the second half, a string of errors and brittle defence down our right edge allowed the Sea Eagles to nearly mount an unlikely comeback (aided by a clear no-try to Dylan Walker that no-one in the media ever mentions).
Parramatta will want to ensure there are no such lapses the second time around as they chase their 9th win of the season.
|Parramatta Eels||Manly Sea Eagles|
|1||Clinton Gutherson||1||Brendan Elliot|
|2||Maika Sivo||2||Jorge Taufua|
|3||Michael Jennings||3||Brad Parker|
|4||Waqa Blake||4||Moses Suli|
|5||Blake Ferguson||5||Reuben Garrick|
|6||Dylan Brown||6||Cade Cust|
|7||Jai Field||7||Daly Cherry-Evans|
|8||Reagan Campbell-Gillard||8||Taniela Paseka|
|9||Reed Mahoney||9||Danny Levi|
|10||Junior Paulo||10||Martin Taupau|
|11||Shaun Lane||11||Joel Thompson|
|12||Ryan Matterson||12||Curtis Sironen|
|13||Nathan Brown||13||Jake Trbojevic|
|14||David Gower||14||Lachlan Croker|
|15||Stefano Utoikamanu||15||Jack Gosiewski|
|16||Marata Niukore||16||Sean Keppie|
|17||Brad Takairangi||17||Corey Waddell|
|18||Daniel Alvaro||18||Haumole Olakau’atu|
|19||George Jennings||19||Tevita Funa|
|20||Will Smith||20||Abbas Miski|
|21||Andrew Davey||21||Toafofoa Sipley|