The Parramatta Eels take on the North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday 18 May in Round 10 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
After a loss to the Melbourne Storm last week, Arthur has made a handful of changes to his line up with George Jennings and Josh Hoffman called into the outside backs in place of Maika Sivo (suspension) and Michael Jennings (injured calf, round 12 return).
Will Smith, who will play his 50th NRL game, will partner Mitch Moses in the halves whilst Manu Ma’u comes into the starting side at lock with Tepai Moeroa dropping back to the bench.
Peni Terepo, Tim Mannah, Tepai Moeroa and Oregon Kaufusi form the bench whilst Kane Evans, Matt McIlwrick, Jaeman Salmon and Bevan French are on the reserves.
For the Cowboys, Head Coach Paul Green has made one change to his 21 man squad with Gideon Gela-Mosby replacing an injured Enari Tuala on the reserves.
Forward Josh McGuire remains sidelined with a calf injury seeing Coen Hess retain his spot in the starting side.
Michael Morgan will play his 150th NRL game whilst Kyle Feldt will play his 100th game.
Historically, the Eels have claimed 20 wins from 40 games, including one draw, but the Cowboys hold the head to head advantage at their home ground with 10 wins from 17 games.
In the last time these two sides met, the Cowboys came away 44-6 victors (Johnathan Thurston’s final home game), and they have also won three of the last five games over the Blue & Gold.
The Eels currently sit in eighth on the ladder with five wins from nine games to start their season. Coming off a thrashing to the Storm last week, the Blue & Gold will be looking to shake off that performance and bounce back this week.
They hold a win, loss, win, loss record <over the last eight weeks and have a 2-3 record away from home this year.
The Cowboys have three wins from the opening nine rounds this season, two of those at home, and after starting the season slowly, they had an inspired victory over the Titans a fortnight ago before a slow start saw them miss the jump against a sharp Rabbitohs outfit in Magic Round last week.
However they showed positive signs in last week’s loss and they are sure to be desperate for another victory in front of their home fans.
The halves will form a key match up in this clash, with Mitch Moses looking to bounce back after last week’s loss to the Storm. He will partner Will Smith for the first time this season, with the utility called into five-eighth in his return from a broken arm injury that ruled him out earlier in the year.
They come up against a halves pairing of Michael Morgan and John Asiata. Morgan will do the majority of the shot calling for the home side however Asiata has shown his skill with the ball every time he has filled in the halves and cannot be underestimated by the Blue & Gold.
The Eels also have a new look left edge with Josh Hoffman and George Jennings linking up for the first time this season providing a great opportunity for the experienced Hoffman and Jennings in their return to first grade.
Taumalolo is just a few games back since returning from injury and he has had a big impact in his two games since returning. A damaging forward with all the skill and talent, the Eels will look to reduce the impact the lock has on the game whilst also dealing with the experienced front row pairing of Matt Scott and Jordan McLean.
Clint Gutherson leads the NRL in line break assists (9) and run metres (1,638), while Brad Takairangi is third in offloads (22) and Mitch Moses is fourth in try assists (8).
Michael Morgan has nailed three 40/20 kicks in 2019 - tops in the league.
Kick off is at 5:30pm.
Match: Cowboys v Eels
Round 10 -
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville