Match Preview: Broncos v Eels at Suncorp Stadium
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels will be looking for their first back to back wins of the season when they travel to Suncorp Stadium to take on the Brisbane Broncos on Saturday 25 April.
After a gutsy 28-22 victory over the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium, the Eels will travel up north to take on the Broncos and Head Coach Brad Arthur and his coaching staff has challenged the side, looking for another 80 minute performance.
“We need to back it up. Our attitude was a lot better on the weekend but there are still a lot of areas we need to improve but getting our attitude right is a big plus,” Assistant Coach Pete Gentle said.
Arthur has named the same 18 players in the squad that defeated Newcastle, however he has named a reshuffled backline with Reece Robinson named at fullback and Will Hopoate returning to the centres.
“It was more a move for the team to bring Hopoate back into the centres to strengthen defensively. He does a lot of good talk there and doesn’t miss too many tackles and it’s also to give ‘Robbo’ a bit of room at the back. He is very good on his feet and he’s played fullback before so it was a win-win for us,” Gentle said of the Eels back line.
“And also our two young blokes on the wing, Bureta Faraimo and John Folau are growing with confidence each week and they both carry the ball strong to help us bring it out with yardage, and they finish pretty strong too, so it’s got a good balance to it at the moment.”
The Eels forward pack have come through last week’s physical encounter with David Gower named despite a dislocated thumb along with Richie Fa’aoso named on an extended bench.
“Gowie will be good to go, as Brad told him, he has another nine!” Gentle joked.
“I don’t think he was ever in doubt about missing this game.” Gentle added.
The last time these two sides met happened to be at Suncorp Stadium in Round 5 of the 2014 season, where the Eels claimed a thrilling 25-18 victory with a Chris Sandow field goal securing the two points.
The Brisbane Broncos are coming off a 12-10 defeat to the St George Illawarra Dragons last week however, the defeat ended a five-match winning streak.
Head coach Wayne Bennett has named several changes to his side with Justin Hodges (hamstring) and Alex Glenn (fractured eye socket) not named in the 1-17 as Lachlan Maranta returns to the side at fullback with Francis Molo set to make his NRL debut from the Broncos bench.
The reshuffled line-up has seen Sam Thaiday shift back to the second row with Adam Blair starting in the front row.
Playing in front of a home crowd will have the Broncos at their best and with the Eels challenged by Head Coach Brad Arthur to perform for the entire 80 minutes on a weekly basis, the clash is looking to be a tightly fought contest.
Parramatta will wear a commemorative Anzac Day jersey for the first time in the club's history and both teams will participate in an Anzac Day ceremony prior to kick-off from 7.45 that will feature The Last Post, Ode to Remembrance and national anthems of both Australia and New Zealand.
Match Details: Brisbane Broncos v Parramatta Eels. Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Saturday 25 April, kick-off at 8:10pm.
Televised: Fox Sports – Live 8pm.
The History: Played 48; Broncos 28; Eels 19; Drawn 1. The Eels and Broncos have split their last eight clashes, four a piece however the Eels were victorious, 25-18 in their last clash at Suncorp Stadium.
At Suncorp Stadium, the Eels have won 6 times from their 15 appearances.
1. Reece Robinson 2. Bureta Faraimo 3. William Hopoate 4. Brad Takairangi 5. John Folau 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Darcy Lussick 9. Nathan Peats 10. Tim Mannah 11. Manu Ma'u 12. David Gower 13. Anthony Watmough
Interchange: 14. Isaac De Gois 15. Joseph Paulo 16. Danny Wicks 17. Peni Terepo 18. Richie Fa'aoso
1. Lachlan Maranta 2. Corey Oates 3. Jack Reed 4. Dale Copley 5. Daniel Vidot 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Adam Blair 11. Matt Gillett 12. Sam Thaiday 13. Corey Parker
Interchange: 14. Jarrod Wallace 15. Francis Molo 16. Mitchell Dodds 17. Kodi Nikorima
Eels Dangers: Corey Norman – The Eels five-eighth has been in impressive form in 2015, leading the Blue and Gold attack with well weighted kicks and a brilliant passing game setting up numerous tries down the Eels left edge. Against his former side, Norman will be looking for another standout performance.
Reece Robinson - Robinson will play his second game at fullback in 2015 and the speedster will be looking to continue piling on the points in the number one jersey. Robinson, along with barnstorming winger John Folau, tops the Eels try scoring list this year, crossing the white line for four tries to go alongside his nine conversions.
Broncos Dangers: Ben Hunt – The Broncos halfback has been the Broncos standout in 2015 with three tries and two conversions to his name, highlighted by a golden point try over the Roosters a few weeks ago. The halfback has a dangerous running game and will be looking to find some lazy forward defence around the ruck to add to his 15 tackle busts and three line-breaks this season.
Daniel Vidot – A mixed start to the year for Daniel Vidot however despite the winger having just the one try to his name from his three appearances tin 2015, the big forward has done plenty of the hard yards, averaging 187metres. If the big winger can overcome his calf strain, the Eels will be ready for his hard running early in the set as he gets the Broncos out of their danger zone onto the front foot.
Match Officials: Referee: Ben Cummins. Assistant Referee: Chris James. Touch Judges: Michael Wise and Chris Butler. Video Referees: Jared Maxwell and Ben Galea.