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Dyldam Parramatta Eels assistant coach Steve Murphy says this afternoon’s clash at ANZ stadium will be a battle through the middle as the Blue and Gold forwards comes up against the Bulldogs pack.

And despite losing their halves Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson to Origin duties, Murphy doesn’t expect the change to blunt the Bulldogs’ attack.

“It’s a real great opportunity for our forward pack,” Murphy said.

“They’re very strong through the middle with [Sam] Kasiano, [Tony] Williams on an edge, and they’ve got [Greg] Eastwood as well.”

“They play pretty direct anyway, so they’ll try and play us through the middle of the park and we’ll have to be on our game defensively to control the middle of the park and the ruck.”

NRL kicks off at 3pm at ANZ Stadium, with NYC kicking off at 12.45pm.