NRL Team List
Round 25, 8:00PM Friday 18th August, CommBank Stadium
I am not even going to waste your time with the mathematical hopes that the Eels still possess to make the finals. Even if Parramatta miraculously cobble together a run to the Top 8 they will be squeezing into the final spot meaning that Friday night’s fixture against the Roosters will still be our last home game of the season.
As it feels like it has been all season, just as the Parramatta Eels get some serious strike power back they lose just as much. Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Maika Sivo are much needed ins but Mitchell Moses is as catastrophic an out as possible while Andrew Davey is also unavailable this week as he works through concussion protocols.
The left edge sees further adjustment this week in the wakes of those moves as Sivo reclaims his spot on the wing and Bailey Simonsson returns to left centre. J’maine Hopgood parachutes into the vacant left edge role leaving the Blue & Gold with a beefy starting middle rotation of ‘RCG’, Junior Paulo and Joe Ofahengaue.
Dylan Brown will have to lead the team around the park in the absence of Moses. Daejarn Asi will aid him in the task but it is still a gaping void in the Parramatta line-up given how heavily involved Moses is across all facets and phases of Parra footy.
The Roosters have been mired in their own struggles this season but have won their last two outings and are still mathematical outsiders for the finals like the Eels. Angus Crichton slides onto their bench this week for an otherwise unchanged squad from Round 24 where they took down the Dolphins.
Obviously the season is still ‘alive’ and thus the Eels have plenty of reason to turn up on Friday night but it is hard to see that galvanising the fanbase after a brutal month of results. Still, I am curious to see how much of an impact Campbell-Gillard and Sivo will make. Will the left edge finally be functional in both attack and defence? Can the Parramatta middles snap their funk and bang out a final dominant performance before the season ends? Do we even bounce back from the thrashing last week given Moses is out?
Either way, after everything that we have been through this year I think we will learn some truths about the team this week. If they collapse and crater out then there needs to be a bigger, serious conversation held in the very near future. Conversely, if they show some steel and character then perhaps chatter about rebuilds could conceivably turn to retooling – and that is a very distinct difference.
|Parramatta Eels||Sydney Roosters|
|Clinton Gutherson||1||James Tedesco|
|Maika Sivo||2||Daniel Tupou|
|Will Penisini||3||Billy Smith|
|Bailey Simonsson||4||Joseph Manu|
|Sean Russell||5||Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii|
|Daejarn Asi||6||Luke Keary|
|Dylan Brown||7||Drew Huthinson|
|Reagan Campbell-Gillard||8||Jared Warea-Hargreaves|
|Joey Lussick||9||Brandon Smith|
|Junior Paulo||10||Lindsay Collins|
|J’maine Hopgood||11||Siua Wong|
|Bryce Cartwright||12||Nat Butcher|
|Joe Ofahengaue||13||Victor Radley|
|Luca Moretti||14||Sandon Smith|
|Ryan Matterson||15||Fletcher Baker|
|Wiremu Greig||16||Terrell May|
|Brendan Hands||17||Angus Crichton|
|Makahesi Makatoa||18||Sam Walker|
|Waqa Blake||19||Dylan Napa|
|Ofahiki Ogen||20||Corey Allan|
|Ky Rodwell||21||Fetalaiga Pauga|
|Jack Murchie||22||Nathan Brown|
NRLW Team List
Round 5, 1:45PM Sunday 20th August, GIO Stadium
Speaking of showing character, I thought the NRLW did plenty of that last week despite going down to the Broncos. They were all guts and grit even in the face of losing star forward Elsie Albert midgame. Now they have to back it up. The Canberra Raiders will be fierce competition as well given they have looked the most accomplished amongst all of the 2023 expansion teams.
Dean Widders has named an unchanged back line while he has tinkered with his forward pack in light of Albert’s awful luck. Madeline Jones starts at prop while Kyra Simon is at lock forward. Nakia Davis-Welsh returns to the interchange bench to round out the Round 5 adjustments.
Naturally there are some former Eels lining up for the opposition this week. Simaima Taufa stands on top on the list but Ashleigh Quinlan has played a starring role for the Raiders this season while Tommaya Kelly-Sines holds down a starting bookend spot. Former Parra pathways players Petesa Lio is also on their extended bench.
|Parramatta Eels||Canberra Raiders|
|Abbi Church||1||Apii Nicholls|
|Zali Fay||2||Madison Bartlett|
|Kimberley Hunt||3||Cheyelle Robins-Reti|
|Cassey Tohi-Hiku||4||Alanna Dummett|
|Monique Donovan||5||Shakiah Tungai|
|Pihuka Berryman-Duff||6||Zahara Temara|
|Rachael Pearson||7||Ashleigh Quinlan|
|Talesha O’Neill||8||Tommaya Kelly-Sines|
|Rueben Cherrington||9||Chante Temara|
|Madeline Jones||10||Sophie Holyman|
|Amelia Mafi||11||Elise Smith|
|Mahalia Murphy||12||Hollie-Mae Dodd|
|Kyra Simon||13||Simaima Taufa|
|Capri Paekau||14||Ua Ravu|
|Tyla Amiatu||15||Grace Kemp|
|Shannon Muru||16||Kerehitina Matua|
|Nakia Davis-Welsh||17||Monalisa Soliola|
|Taneka Todhunter||18||Petesa Lio|
|Ruby-Jean Kennard-Ellis||19||Ahlivia Ingram|
|Chloe Jackson||20||Ella Ryan|
|Lindsay Tui||21||Jessica Gentle|
|Rosemarie Beckett||22||Tara Reinke|
NSW Cup Team List
Round 25, 5:30PM Friday 18th August, CommBank Stadium
Holy mother of shakeups, Batman! You will want to be knocking off work early on Friday night if possible because the NSW Cup curtain raiser will be showcasing some of the next-gen talents that will hopefully keep the Eels ticking over at NRL level in the coming seasons.
Familiar Flegg-eligible names like Arthur Miller-Stephen, Jontay-Junior Betham-Misa, Joshua Lynn and Charlie Guymer are joined by a trio of newcomers as Richard Penisini, Matthew Arthur and Sam Tuivaiti make their NSW Cup debuts. It is an almighty injection of blue-chip prospects into the reserve grade team and adds a Carolina Reaper level of spice to what was shaping up as a nothing game between 9th and 13th (in a 13 team competition) on the ladder.
Richard, younger brother of Will Penisini, gets the lone starting gig of the 3 young men after lighting up the Jersey Flegg. The Eels desperately need more depth, speed and skill in their backline stocks and Richard gets a shot to establish himself at the front of the line this week. Keep a keen eye on Arthur and Tuivaiti though with the former a relentless schemer and fiery competitor out of dummy half while the latter is a towering, athletic bookend that has stood tall at every level in the junior pathways.
Jersey Flegg Team List
Round 25, 3:00PM Saturday 19th August, Ringrose Park
The Jersey Flegg take a hit this week with the aforementioned promotions to the NSW Cup. Given they are still in the hunt for the finals it is a significant blow but they have still named a strong line-up for their clash with the Roosters.
Blaize Talagi replaces Joshua Lynn in the halves while William Latu slips into the centres for Richard Penisini. Nic Lenaz showcases his versatility as he moves from lock to dummy half and will share those responsibilities with Jacob Davis and Saxon Pryke takes over at lock as a result.
Parramatta pushed the competition leading Roosters all the way when the teams met recently but they will have to take that extra step on Saturday if they are to keep their finals hopes alive. Even with the players out, there is still talent and strike across the team but they will have to play some quality footy to knock over the Tri-colours.