The Parramatta Eels take on the St. George Illawarra Dragons at ANZ Stadium this Sunday 18 June in Round 15 of the NRL Telstra Premiership and Blue & Gold centre Brad Takairangi has stressed the importance of the clash.
Speaking to the media this week, Takairangi spoke of the importance around claiming the two points over the Dragons and recreating their performance over the opposition from earlier in the season.
“This is humungous for us. This game leads into the bye so we have placed a massive emphasis on making sure we do everything we can to get the two points and hopefully we can do that,” Takairnagi said.
“We probably haven’t had a game like Round 2 since. We have a job to do and Brad has been massive on making sure we are ready to go this week and we will be doing everything possible” he added.
“It was a complete game (Round 2). We have found ourselves defending well in games and not being able to attack as well, but that was our full complete game. This week, if we can hold the ball and build pressure, we will be right.”
And with both sides entering the clash coming off defeats, Takairangi expects the clash to be a tough contest.
“Anytime you get hammered by a team, next time you come out you want to try and do a really good job,” Takairangi said when asked of the Dragons 16-2 defeat last week.
“They are missing a couple of players there, but whoever comes in will do a really good job for them.”
The Eels saw halves Corey Norman and Mitch Moses combine for the first time on the field last week against the Cowboys, and Takairangi said he had already noticed vast improvements in the newly formed cominbation.
“Last week was their first session together, and already we have had two sessions and they are looking really sharp. Normy, having that game under his belt will be better for it this week and hopefully they can combine really well and steer us around,” Takairangi said.
“Mitch has been really good. When he came in, we were surprised at how quickly he picked up our shapes and our calls, so we has had a few weeks to steer the side with Normy out, but now that Normy is back, hopefully they can work together well.” He added.
And with Takairangi again named on the left edge, inside winger Semi Radradra, the centre said he was hopefully of seeing the fan-favourite back in open space, looking to do everything in his power to put him into the clear.
“Semi is a crowd favourite and very popular amongst the boys. He has been really good and just concentrating on this year at the moment and hopefully we can finish really strongly to the year and we can get him back next year,” Takairangi said.
“Once the court case was over, you can tell he was back to himself. It is really pleasing for us, he’s a great bloke to be around, he brings a lot of energy to the team and the last couple of weeks we haven’t seen him in the clear yet, but hopefully we can put him away down the sideline this week.”
“He is a crowd favourite obviously, and every time he touches the ball the crowd rises expecting big things from him so hopefully we can do a good job in the middle and put him in the clear this week. “
“It is good just knowing that once he gets in the clear, it is going to be pretty hard to stop him. Last time we saw that, it was against the Warriors, so hopefully we get him in the clear and let him do his thing.” He added.
And with the Eels breaking their all-time Membership record earlier this week, Takairangi was hoping to see the Blue & Gold Army out in force on Sunday.
“Its massive for us. Having that home support and the massive Members we definitely feel it.” He said of the support.
“Hopefully we can see a big crowd out there on Sunday.”
The Eels take on the Dragons at ANZ Stadium on Sunday 18 June for Round 15 of the NRL Telstra Premiership. Click here to purchase your tickets to the clash.