Match Preview: Eels v Sharks, Round 17
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels take on the top of the table Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks on Saturday 2 July at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Blue and Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur has made two changes to his Round 17 line up, with centre Michael Jennings returning from NSW Origin duties, whilst Cody Nelson has been named on the bench in place of Kaysa Pritchard.
The Eels are coming off a NRL bye in Round 16, however will enter the clash with plenty of confidence after three victories in the prior three weeks including a convincing 30-12 victory over the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
For the in-form Sharks, Head Coach Shane Flanagan has made just the one change to his side, with winger Sosaia Feki called into the starting side pushing Ricky Leutele to an extended bench that also includes forwards Chris Heighington, Matt Prior, Jayson Bukuya and Joseph Paulo.
The Sharks enter the Round 17 clash in red hot form, winning 11 of their past games, which sees them sit at the top of the table.
In the last time these two sides met, the Cronulla Sharks came away with the two points after a thrilling 35-28 victory in Round 25, 2015 however the Eels will enter the clash with a fairly even record, with 39 victories from 81 clashes.
Match Details: Dyldam Parramatta Eels v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday 2 June. Kick off at 7:30pm.
Televised: Fox Sports 1 – Live coverage from 7.30pm.
The History: Played 81; Sharks 42, Eels 39. A slight historical advantage to the boys from the Shire but the Eels have four wins from the past six meetings.
A last-start win at Pirtek Stadium in Round 25, 2015 late last year broke a three-game winning streak for the Blue and Gold.
Parramatta Eels Squad:
1. Michael Gordon 2. Semi Radradra 3. Michael Jennings 4. Clint Gutherson 5. Bevan French 6. Kenny Edwards 7. Corey Norman 8. Daniel Alvaro 9. Isaac De Gois 10. Danny Wicks 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Beau Scott (c) 13. Tepai Moeroa
Interchange: 14. Cody Nelson 15. Peni Terepo 16. David Gower 17. Rory O’Brien
1. Ben Barba 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jack Bird 4. Gerard Beale 5. Valentine Holmes 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Michael Ennis 10. Sam Tagataese 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen (c)
Interchange: 14. Ricky Leutele 15. Chris Heighington 16. Matt Prior 17. Jayson Bukuya 18. Joseph Paulo
Referee: Ashley Klein. Assistant referee: Adam Gee. Sideline officials: Jeff Younis and Rohan Best. Review officials: Luke Patten and Jason Robinson. Senior RO: Bernard Sutton.