The Parramatta Eels take on the North Queensland Cowboys at Darwin’s TIO Stadium tonight, Saturday 10 June, in Round 14 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Previewing the game thanks to betting.club, Blue & Gold Assistant Coach Pete Gentle says that despite Corey Norman’s return, the Eels are not a one man band and all seventeen players will need to do their job.
“The Norman/Moses combination will take time to gel completely. Early indications, from training, are very exciting, but it’s only early times but they will work well together.”
“Norman was right up there in the Dally M points and when he plays well we generally win so we have to give him that opportunity to play well. We are not a one man band and everyone has a role to play for him to do his stuff but we are very excited to have him back.”
The Eels enter the clash with three wins from their last three clashes at TIO Stadium, remaining undefeated in their home away from home.
“It is exciting and there are very familiar surroundings up here for us. The boys are very comfortable, it’s still business as usual for us, but it’s a good break for us,” Gentle said of the side arriving back in Eels Territory.
“It probably gives us a bit of confidence that what we have done in the past has worked. We are looking to replicate what we have done in the past. You have to work hard to get the two points and we have continued to do that.”
After a gritty and tough performance last week, Gentle says the sides preparation has been modified closely, but the team will be ready to work hard for the victory.
“It’s probably not only last week, because we have come off Canberra, Souths and the Warriors who are all very big teams. We have been very conscious of looking after the boys and probably indicative of how many players we brought away with us,”
“We only finalised the team after the Captain’s Run and we have been very careful, have lightened their load a little bit, but you still have to work hard for the two points.”
With Norman returning, the Eels are forced to reshuffle Clint Gutherson into the backline.
And Gentle says Gutherson will still bring plenty to the side.
“Gutho is first picked very week, for obvious reasons. It doesn’t matter where you play Gutho, we will get the same from him,” Gentle said.
“His energy, effort, and how he competes on everything, we are not too fussed on where we play him and I don’t think he is either at the moment. We will find a spot for him and he will go well.”
The Eels are expecting Johnathan Thurston to take the field for the Cowboys, and Gentle says the Eels have prepared for him all week.
“We have prepared for JT all week, so there are no surprises there and if he doesn’t play so be it. We are expecting him to play and our back rowers will be lining up to run at him so good luck to him,” Gentle said.
“We are not unaccustomed to having big bodies running at us. Their body shapes are a little different this time, they are a bit lower centre of gravity, so we have done some work on that as well,” he added.
“But it all starts in that middle. We have to control the middle to limit what Thurston and Michael Morgan and those blokes can do.”
The Eels kick off against the North Queensland Cowboys tonight from Darwin’s TIO Stadium at 7pm.