The Parramatta Eels take on the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at ANZ Stadium tonight for their Round Four clash of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Previewing the game thanks to betting.club, Blue & Gold Assistant Head Coach Pete Gentle says the side is ready to move on after last week’s performance, prepared for a dangerous Premiers side with strengths right across the park.
“The first 20 minutes we were in control and doing everything we were supposed to be doing, and then the next 60 minutes we weren’t in control,” Gentle said of last week’s performance.
“We only missed 12 tackles but it’s where we gave them the ball, and we gave them that many opportunities, two tries from kicks and one from dummy half, and that all comes back to field position.”
“We have reviewed that thoroughly and we are ready to move on.”
The Sharks will enter the clash coming off the back of a loss against the Dragons, but despite their 1-2 record to start the season, Gentle knows the side will be dangerous.
“We don’t worry about whether they are winning or losing, they are a quality team. We have done our homework and we are looking forward to the challenge going up against the Premiers,” Gentle said.
“Strengths right across the field. You don’t get Premiership with being weak in any position so they will be good right across the field, and we will have to be good too.”
The Eels have a handful of changes to their side this week, with Corey Norman returning to halfback from injury, Frank Pritchard moved to the starting side in the absence of Tepai Moeroa (suspension), and prop forward Siosaia Vave set to make his Club debut from the bench.
“It wasn’t Corey's fault we got beat, it was a team effort and it will be a team effort this week,” Gentle said.
“Corey can only do his job if everyone is doing their job. He has slotted straight back in with no problems.”
“Frank had close to 55 minutes last week, and he has had more and more minutes each week. We didn’t think we would be starting him just yet but we are very comfortable he can do the job,” Gentle added.
“Vave is a very smart footballer. He has had a couple games in reserve grade, he is ready to go and we are looking forward to seeing him in action.” Gentle said of Vave.
The Eels Round Four clash will be the Blue & Gold’s first home game at ANZ Stadium in 2017, with the Eels and Sharks playing for the annual Johnny Mannah Cup.
The annual fixture honours former Eels and Sharks Player Jon Mannah, and supports the work of the Mannah Foundation, assisting young people from all walks of life.
“It’s a very special occasion and the boys have spoken about it. It’s a game that has more meaning,” Gentle said.
Kick off is at 7:00pm.