The Dyldam Parramatta Eels will take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs tonight at ANZ Stadium for their Round 11 clash and the Blue and Gold will be eager to return to the winner’s circle.
The Eels went down in a thriller at Pirtek Stadium last week, losing to the NZ Warriors in golden point, and they will be eager to get the two points and get their season back on track.
The Eels will enter this clash with plenty of confidence however, buoyed by a victory over the Rabbitohs in Round 4, along with a Rabbitohs side without Greg Inglis (Queensland Origin duties) and Adam Reynolds (injury).
A new Eels backline this week, losing centre Will Hopoate to NSW Origin duties, forcing Ryan Morgan to the centres and John Folau (who crossed for two barnstorming four pointers against Souths in Round Four) recalled to the wing.
Along with the return of John Folau, the Eels also receive a big boost to their bench, with the 118kg wrecking ball, Junior Paulo returning from a nine week suspension replacing Isaac De Gois who was ruled out through injury.
Paulo forms part of a four man Eels bench stacked with forwards (Terepo, Fa’aoso, Wicks) and he will be a handy inclusion to the side, adding extra size to the Blue and Gold that will face a big, strong and physical Rabbitohs side.
The Eels have completed poorly the past few weeks and Head Coach Brad Arthur has called on his side to complete a full 80-minute performance.
For the Rabbitohs, who are coming off a loss against the Storm last week, they welcome back Joel Reddy and Jason Clark (who will play his 100th NRL game) to the starting side whilst Chris Grevsmuhl and Daryl Millard join Isaac Luke, Nathan Brown, Tim Grant and Thomas Burgess on an extended bench.
In the wet conditions at ANZ Stadium, whichever side controls the ball will go a long way towards the two points.
Match Details: Dyldam Parramatta Eels v South Sydney Rabbitohs, ANZ Stadium. Kick-off is at 7:45pm.
Televised: Channel Nine, Live, 7:30pm
The History: Played 119; Eels 51, Rabbitohs 65, Drawn 3.
The Blue and Gold came away victors in their Round Four clash at Pirtek Stadium earlier this year, however the Rabbitohs have won the previous seven games before that.
Eels Squad: 1. Reece Robinson 2. Semi Radradra 3. Ryan Morgan 4. Brad Takairangi 5. John Folau 6. Corey Norman 7. Luke Kelly 8. Danny Wicks 9. Nathan Peats 10. Tim Mannah 11. Manu Ma'u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Anthony Watmough
Interchange: 14. Junior Paulo 15. Richie Fa'aoso 16. Peni Terepo 17. Pauli Pauli
Rabbitohs Squad: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Joel Reddy 3. Dylan Walker 4. Bryson Goodwin 5. Aaron Gray 6. John Sutton 7. Luke Keary 8. George Burgess 9. Cameron McInnes 10. David Tyrrell 11. Ben Lowe 12. Chris McQueen 13. Jason Clark
Interchange: 14. Issac Luke 15. Nathan Brown 16. Tim Grant 17. Thomas Burgess 18. Daryl Millard 19. Chris Grevsmuhl
Eels Dangers: Junior Paulo. The hulking 188cm, 118kg forward has been on the sidelines for the past 9 weeks and the forward has been waiting for this opportunity to return to the field. We spoke to the prop earlier this week and he believes it is the fittest he has ever been.
Fellow Eels forward Manu Ma’u has been in devastating form in 2015 and the hard-running second rower will be looking to add to his two tries this season.
Rabbitohs Dangers: Alex Johnston. The winger was named for the Kangaroos earlier this year, however after missing out on NSW Origin selection, the try scorer will step up and fill Greg Inglis’s boots at fullback this week. Inglis is a massive danger in the Rabbitohs backline, but with him missing this week, expect Johnston to be involved as much as possible in his new position.
Match Officials: Jared Maxwell, Chris James; Sideline Officials: Russell Turner, Adam Reid; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy, Ben Galea;