Assistant Coach Steve Murphy is predicting an onslaught in the middle of the park when the Dyldam Parramatta Eels take on the New Zealand Warriors this afternoon at Parramatta’s Pirtek Stadium.
Despite the gap between the two sides on the ladder, both are keen to demonstrate their abilities to play consistent football week-to-week, and the Blue and Gold has identified a number of danger men in the Warriors side.
“It’s an important match for both sides,” Murphy said.
“They’re coming off a last minute win against the Sharks and we’re coming off a performance that was fairly forgettable, certainly the second half.”
“They’ll try to roll through the middle with their big men, and their outside backs get them started, and then on the back of that [Shaun] Johnson and [Tuimoala] Lolohea and those kinds of players (will shine).”
“They’ve got a few really dangerous players in their football team and we’ve got to really control our own game.”
For Head Coach Brad Arthur, unpredictable players like Shaun Johnson are difficult to read in attack, forcing the Eels’ focus back to their own attitude on the field.
“He’s a quality player,” Arthur said.
“It’s very hard to plan for what he’s going to do. You can try and minimise the damage by keeping a straight line, and working together, and having a mentality where you just keep showing up.”
With second-rower David Gower ruled out with an ankle injury, and Joseph Paulo running out for the Wentworthville Magpies, the Eels welcome back Pauli Pauli and Tepai Moeroa to their forward pack, and Murphy says the pair will benefit from the experience of every additional minute they play.
“They’re two young players finding their way, really,” Murphy said.
“I don’t think they’ve even played 20 [NRL] games between them. They’re learning their way and they’re learning their craft and they’ll be better with each performance .”
“It’s important for us to try and jag a win build some confidence and build off that momentum. It’s cliche but we’ve got to make sure we’re doing all the little things well, and if we do that you’ll see the best version of Parramatta.”
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels kick off against the New Zealand Warriors at 3pm this afternoon, as part of a triple-header. Gates open at Pirtek Stadium from 10.30am. Click through for all the Game Day Information!