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Parramatta Eels forward David Gower says the battle up front will hold the key to coming away with the two points this weekend when the Eels go head to head with the St. George Illawarra Dragons in their Round Two clash of the NRL Telstra Premiership.

Reflecting on the Eels Round One victory over the Sea-Eagles, Gower says the Blue & Gold will take plenty from the clash.

“I think our grit and determination and competitiveness was there but there are a few things we need to work on and we have been working hard this week on them,” Gower said.

“Our attack was a little bit clunky and we need to improve that, but that comes with time out on the field and playing together.”

“There were a couple of times in defence we needed to tighten up and we have been working on that this week.”

“As long as we can compete for 80 minutes, we are pretty confident the result will favour us.”

The Eels come up against the Dragons who came away with a convincing 42-10 victory over the Penrith Panthers in Round One, and Gower is predicting a physical challenge up against the big bodied Dragons forwards, who laid a solid platform in their victory last week.

“The Dragons are a good side, they run hard, big bodies in the middle and they played off what they saw off the back of that,” Gower said.

“For most sides, a strong and dominant forward pack will give the halves the platform to play off. They did that for them on the weekend.” Gower added.

“Vaughn is a big body with good leg speed and Russell Packer is now two years back in the game and playing well and is a big aggressive body. Jack de Bellin is playing some good footy, moving the ball around a little bit so our middle will have to be on their game.”

However the challenge is something the Eels forwards’ look forward to.

“They have a big forward pack that will be hard to contain but our forwards pride ourselves on being competitive especially in the middle of the park and are really looking forward to a big battle in the middle.” Gower said.

“We pride ourselves on fronting up week in week out for that physical battle and we are really looking forward to that physical battle this week.” He added.

And Gower is not worried about taking on a Dragons pack.

The forward was impressed by the work of some of the new Blue & Gold faces in Round One.

“Tungs is a no nonsense sort of front rower and he really ripped in, run the ball hard and tackled harder. That’s what we really want from Tungs.” Gower said.

“Browny looked to do a little bit of ball playing, and we will just have to work around him and his strengths and work on some combinations off him, but the second half he ran really strong and hard and did his job too.”

“And Frank Pritchard, he is a big body, a veteran of the game and I am sure his role will expand in the coming weeks and I am really looking forward to what he can bring for us.” He added.

The Eels kick off against the Dragons on Sunday 12 March at WIN Stadium at 6:30pm.

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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