NRL Team List
When the Parramatta Eels loaned away Daniel Alvaro and George Jennings to the New Zealand Warriors last week, in a token of good-will to the embattled franchise, you had to think the Eels were making this move armed with the knowledge that reinforcements were not far off. Lo and behold, Brad Arthur has delivered TLT wombo-combo by naming both Kane Evans and Oregon Kaufusi to the interchange bench.
Evans (Calf, Indefinite) and Kaufusi (Broken Hand, Rds 13-14) both return ahead of schedule in a monumental boost to Parramatta’s forward rotation. Having leaned heavily on the incredible durability and fortitude of their star duo in Junior Paulo and Reagan Campbell-Gillard for a prolonged period, Arthur can now simultaneously lighten their workload while also unleashing a devastating second wave combination in the ruck.
Their addition to a bench featuring star impact forward Marata Niukore, alongside the emergence of Andrew Davey in recent weeks suddenly gives the Eels a fearsome quartet to sick on the Dogs on Sunday afternoon. Naturally, there is some concern surrounding the fitness of Ryan Matterson who will need to pass concussion protocols to take his place in the team this week. Should he fail, look a combination of Davey and Brad Takairangi to share his load.
With a 10-day turnaround in their pocket, the Parramatta Eels should be attacking this game with a freshness and ferocity rarely afforded to any team in the brutal reality of a bye-less regulation season. While the Bulldogs are anchored to the bottom of the ladder, their last start victory over the Newcastle Knights will have them fired up for this fixture and everyone reading this blog is well aware that there are no easy games in the NRL. We only need to turn our minds back to Round 1 of this season and before that Round 23 of the 2019 season to remind ourselves that the boys from Belmore circle this game on their calendar.
Still, Parramatta can attack the Dogs from a number of angles at ANZ Stadium on Sunday. With Mitchell Moses back at the helm the Eels look to wear the home team down on the back of a punishing, if simple, game-plan to win the ruck and kick to the corners. Equally, they can call upon their dominant left-edge to blow the game open – assuming they manage to snap their recent habit of turning the ball over early in the game!
However, given that the Bulldogs have named a hooker and a utility on the bench, leaving only two forwards to work in relief, it does feel like Parramatta could blow the game open with their second wave of forwards on Sunday. With Paulo and Campbell-Gillard absorbing all the early pressure, the likes of Niukore, Evans and Kaufusi have the potential to run amuck against fatiguing Canterbury middles.
Parramatta did well to fight their way to win against the Tigers in Round 11 but this needs to be their ‘get right’ game as they enter the business end of the season. Fatigue and injuries have each played a part as errors and misexecution have crept into their game over the last month. Now they need to meet the Bulldogs with a clear mindset and aim for a complete 80-minute effort.
|Parramatta Eels||Canterbury Bulldogs|
|1||Clinton Gutherson||1||Nick Meaney|
|2||Maika Sivo||2||Dallin Watene-Zelezniak|
|3||Michael Jennings||3||Tim Lafai|
|4||Waqa Blake||4||Jake Averillo|
|5||Blake Ferguson||5||Marcelo Montoya|
|6||Dylan Brown||6||Kieran Foran|
|7||Mitchell Moses||7||Lachlan Lewis|
|8||Reagan Campbell-Gillard||8||Aiden Tolman|
|9||Reed Mahoney||9||Jeremy Marshall-King|
|10||Junior Paulo||10||Dylan Napa|
|11||Shaun Lane||11||Josh Jackson|
|12||Ryan Matterson||12||Raymond Faitala-Mariner|
|13||Nathan Brown||13||Luke Thompson|
|14||Andrew Davey||14||Jack Cogger|
|15||Marata Niukore||15||Sione Katoa|
|16||Kane Evans||16||Sauaso Sue|
|17||Oregon Kaufusi||17||Ofahiki Ogden|
|18||Brad Takairangi||18||Kerrod Holland|
|19||Stefano Utoikamanu||19||Renouf To’omaga|
|20||David Gower||20||Chris Smith|
|21||Will Smith||21||Reimis Smith|