The Parramatta Eels take on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium tonight (Thursday 29 June) for Round 17 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Previewing the game thanks to betting.club, Blue & Gold Assistant Coach Pete Gentle says a timely bye leading into the clash has the team ready to take on the Bulldogs.
The Eels will have Club debutant Cameron King in place of an injured Kaysa Pritchard and Gentle says the hooker will make the most of his opportunity.
“We were the only side to play fifteen games straight so the bye was very timely and very welcoming.” Gentle said.
“It was very costly that win against St. George, losing two players that game, but that’s the game. Cameron has been waiting for an opportunity for 18 months and he is ready. I don’t think he will let anyone down and he will bring another dimension to our game.” He added.
“For one reason or another, he hasn’t had an opportunity, some through no fault of his own. He has an opportunity, and that’s what you need in this game, an opportunity and he now has that opportunity to cement his spot for the rest of the year and beyond.”
Beau Scott has also been ruled out for the remainder of the season with an injury to his bicep, and Gentle says that whilst the loss will be big, there is plenty of depth in the Eels forward stocks.
“Gower and Vave are both seasoned first graders and you have young Marata Niukore who is playing very well at NSW Cup.” Gentle said.
"Then you have Frank Pritchard and Peni Terepo, who aren’t far away so there is a bit of depth there. Nobody likes to see injuries but this is how you play deep into the competition when you have a deep squad.”
The Bulldogs enter the clash desperate for points, and Gentle knows the Eels opposition will be putting up a fight, despite being without forwards James Graham and Greg Eastwood.
“They have strength right across the field and they are ranked number one for shifts in the game so they do throw the ball around and they have plenty of forwards who can play footy as well.” Gentle said.
“We have to be very good defensively, that will get us the result.”
“We haven’t even spoken about the loss of Graham and Eastwood. We have to concentrate on us, our defensive principles and structures and we will be okay.”