Match Preview: Titans v Eels, Round 20
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels take on the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday, July 23, at Cbus Super Stadium in Round 20 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Blue and Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur has named Clint Gutherson and Jeff Robson to make their second appearance as a halves combination. The pair are the sixth and seventh men to start in the halves for the Eels so far this year, as injury and unavailability take their toll on the Parraatta roster.
The Eels remain without Semi Radradra (medial ligament), and Michael Jennings, who picked up a hamstring injury that saw him leave the field just before halftime in Round 19, but welcome back centre Brad Takairangi to the side for the first time since Round 12.
Bureta Faraimo remains on the wing alongside second-rower Manu Ma’u, who slots into the centres for a second week.
The Blue and Gold will be stinging from a heartbreaking loss to the Panthers in Round 19, that saw the men from the foot of the mountains reel in the Eels’ 18-6 halftime lead for a 22-18 win.
Neil Henry’s Titans sit seventh on the ladder thanks to a relatively strong points differential, but face a fight from the Warriors, Panthers and Dragons to retain their top eight spot.
Fresh from a dominant 32-12 win over St George-Illawarra, the Titans will be without lock Greg Bird, leaving fan favourite Agnatius Paasi to take on the number 13 jersey.
Nathan Peats will start at hooker, with the tenacious dummy-half sure to lift against his former teammates, while captain Nathan Friend has been named on the interchange bench.
Earlier in 2016, the Eels put the Titans away at Darwin’s TIO stadium, posting a 22-12 win in their second home, #eelsterritory.
Kick off is at 5.30pm, following the women's Interstate Challenge at 3:10pm.
Match Details: Gold Coast Titans v Dyldam Parramatta Eels at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday, July 23. Kick off at 5.30pm.
Televised: Fox Sports – Live Coverage from 4.55pm.
The History: Played 14; Gold Coast 9, Parramatta 5.
The Eels trail the Titans in head-to-head wins, with the Gold Coast winning 9 of 14 clashes between the two sides. The Gold Coast also hold an edge at home, winning 4 of 8 clashes at Cbus Super Stadium.
The Blue and Gold hold a 5-3 record in away matches so far in 2016, while the Titans have won 4 of their 7 home games so far this season.
Parramatta Eels Squad:
1. Michael Gordon 2. Bureta Faraimo 3. Manu Ma’u 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Bevan French 6. Clint Gutherson 7. Jeff Robson 8. Danny Wicks 9. Isaac De Gois 10. Tim Mannah 11. Kenny Edwards 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Beau Scott (c)
Interchange: 14. Rory O’Brien 15. Peni Terepo 16. David Gower 17. Daniel Alvaro
1. David Mead 2. Anthony Don 3. Josh Hoffman 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Nene McDonald 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Luke Douglas 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James 11. Zeb Taia 12. Chris McQueen 13. Agnatius Paasi
Interchange: 14. Eddy Pettybourne 15. Leivaha Pulu 16. Nathaniel Peteru 17. Nathan Friend (c)
Match Officials: Referees: Grant Atkins, Chris Sutton; Sideline Officials: Michael Wise, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski; Video Referees: Luke Patten, Bryan Norrie, Jared Maxwell