Sterlo's Parra Preview | Eels v Raiders, Round Five
The Parramatta Eels clash with the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium on Sunday 14 April in round five of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Coming off a 24-12 victory over the Sharks in round four, Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur has named the same seventeen to travel to the nations capital for the clash.
David Gower returns from injury named on the reserves alongside Ray Stone, Josh Hoffman and Bevan French.
Eels centre Brad Takairangi will play his 150th NRL match.
For the Raiders, Head Coach Ricky Stuart has made changes to his side that came away with a dominant victory over the Cowboys in Townsville last week, with forward Joe Tapine returning from a thumb injury via the bench.
Aidan Sezer has also been named on the extended bench as he recovers from an oblique injury, with Sam Williams named at halfback for Sunday.
Both sides enter this clash in good form, with both teams holding a 3-1 record heading into round five.
Historically, the Raiders hold a slight head to head advantage with 30 wins from 26 games, however when they return home, they have a stranglehold over the Blue & Gold, with 17 victories from 21 games at GIO Stadium. In fact, the Eels have not won at the venue since 2006.
However the Blue & Gold will be looking to continue on their winning ways after a solid victory over the Sharks last week. Naming an unchanged line up for the first time this season, Blue & Gold Members and fans will be looking to Mitch Moses to steer the team around like he did in last week’s win.
For the Eels, Blake Ferguson leads the NRL in run metres (880) whilst Clint Gutherson sits second with (826). The fullback is also equal first in line break assists (5) and Ferguson is second in post contact metres (245).
Reed Mahoney looks set for another 80 minute stint on the field, backing up from last weeks effort that saw the young hooker make 59 tackles in the win. He will come up against the crafty Josh Hodgson who is crucial in the Raiders line up.
The Raiders have seen English imports John Bateman and Ryan Sutton star in the forward pack whilst captain and hooker Josh Hodgson craft at the ruck has looked dangerous over the past few weeks. The side currently lead in the NRL in possession at 54% and rank third in tackle breaks (137) and fourth in post contact metres (1,933).
They have also backed it up with their defence, with only the Storm and Wests Tigers conceding less points than Canberra (44).
Match: Raiders v Eels
Round 5 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra