Five things – Eels v Sharks

The Parramatta Eels will be looking to move back into the NRL winners circle following their first loss of the season last week to the Sydney Roosters.

They face tough opposition in the Cronulla Sharks, who are hot off a big win against the North Queensland Cowboys.

The teams meet for the annual Johnny Mannah Cup at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

Johnny Mannah Cup

The annual Johnny Mannah Cup is in memory of the late Eels and Sharks forward, Johnny Mannah, who died from Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2013.

The round is always played during the Eels and Sharks first meet of the season.

It's a special date on the calendar for both clubs, not least for Eels co-captain and Johnny’s brother, Tim Mannah.

Eels/Sharks history

The Eels have lost the last five of their games against the Sharks and will be keen to end their head-to-head losing streak this weekend.

Last year’s Round 9 clash between the sides at Southern Cross Stadium was the closest of the five, with the Eels going down 22-20.

Both teams are going into the game with two wins and a loss so far this season and are fairly comparable on the statistics chart.

Injuries

Both teams have some big names missing from their line-ups this weekend.

The Eels are without five-eighth Dylan Brown who is sidelined indefinitely with a back injury. 20-year old Jaeman Salmon will move into the halves as his replacement. David Gower is out for another week with a calf injury. Manu Ma’u is still recovering from a knee injury and looking to a Round 6 return. Will Smith is set to be back in Round 8 from an arm injury and Nathan Brown is out until Round 14 with a pectoral injury.

The Sharks will be missing fullback Matt Moylan with a hamstring injury, with Josh Dugan coming in as his replacement.  Bronson Xerri has been promoted to start at centre. Paul Gallen has been named despite copping a knock to his ribs in last week’s match.

Sharks debutant to face experienced Michael Jennings

Sharks rookie Bronson Xerri will make his NRL debut in the centres against the Eels on Saturday night.

The 18-year-old has his work cut out for him, coming up against one of the most experienced centres in the game in Michael Jennings.

The teenager would have made his debut last year, but NRL rules don’t allow under-18 players from doing so.

Eels final home game at ANZ

The Parramatta Eels will play their last home game at ANZ Stadium, after two seasons there as they waited for the construction of their new stadium.

The Blue and Gold’s former home ground, Pirtek Stadium, was knocked down in 2016 to make way for their brand new home, BankWest Stadium to be built.

The Eels will farewell their temporary home ground on Saturday night before their first game at BankWest Stadium on Easter Monday (22 April at 4pm) against the Wests Tigers.