Match Preview Round Three - Warriors v Eels
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels will be coming off a brutal clash against the Bulldogs last week, however the 8 day turn around will have the Blue and Gold ready and raring to go.
Faced with injuries to winger Semi Radradra and centre Beau Champion, the Eels will see the return of Vai Toutai and Ryan Morgan who have been called back into the side.
There were injury concerns to Eels Chris Sandow and Anthony Watmough however Sandow and Watmough are expected to play.
Young back-rower Tepai Moeroa exited the field last week before the full time siren nursing a shoulder concern, however Moeroa was cleared of any structural damage to his shoulder earlier in the week.
The Eels showed a steely resolve during their match against the Bulldogs and Eels captain Tim Mannah knows the Blue and Gold have taken away plenty from last week’s encounter heading into this week’s tough encounter across the ditch.
The Warriors will play their first game of the 2015 season at home with a big and vocal New Zealand crowd expected.
They have named an unchanged line up from the side that was victorious against the Canberra Raiders last week, with Sam Tomkins and Shaun Johnson named despite incurring knocks in their clash.
Nathan Friend will be playing his 200th game in the NRL whilst Ben Henry will be clocking up his 50th NRL game.
Match Details: New Zealand Warriors v Parramatta Eels. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. Saturday 21 March. Kickoff at 5.00pm NZ time (3.00pm AEDT).
NYC Kick off at 12.40pm.
Televised: Sky Sport – Live from 4.30pm NZT (Fox Sports 3pm AEDT).
The History: Played 33; Eels 19, Warriors 14.
The Eels and Warriors each had a convincing victory at home over their opposition during the 2014 season and the last three head to head meetings has been won by 20 points or more. The Eels have shown then can put points on the board in the opening two rounds of the competition and fans should be expecting another high scoring affair in Auckland this weekend.
1. William Hopoate 2. Vai Toutai 3. Ryan Morgan 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Reece Robinson 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Darcy Lussick 9. Nathan Peats 10. Tim Mannah (c) 11. Manu Ma'u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Anthony Watmough
14. Isaac De Gois 15. Joseph Paulo 16. Danny Wicks 17. David Gower
1. Sam Tomkins 2. Jonathan Wright 3. Tuimoala Lolohea 4. Solomone Kata 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Chad Townsend 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Thomas Leuluai 10. Ben Matulino 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Simon Mannering
14. Nathan Friend 15. Ben Henry 16. Sam Lisone 17. Albert Vete 18. Matthew Allwood
William Hopoate has averaged 162 metres per game so far in 2015 and the fullback will be looking for another big performance this week after Beau Champion and Semi Radradra have been ruled out of the Eels backline.
The Warriors are returning from their recent trip to Canberra, where they missed 27 tackles so fans should keep their eye on William Hopoate who will be looming in support of a ball-playing and skilful Eels forward pack.
Manu Ma’u scored two tries last week to put the Eels back in front in a crucial stage of the match, and the hard running second-rower has impressed in the opening two rounds of the season and will be a handful for the Warriors out wide.
The Warriors forward back were impressive last week against the Canberra side making an impressive 1810 metres off their 195 runs. Off the back of this, Shaun Johnson and Sam Tomkins will be dangerous around the middle of the ruck.
The Eels are coming off a brutal encounter against the Bulldogs last week and will be up for another contest to contain their opposing big boppers this week.
Match Officials: Referee: Ashley Klein. Assistant Referee: Adam Gee. Touch Judges: David Ryan and Jon Stone. Video Referees: Shayne Hayne and Steve Folkes.