Match Preview: Dragons v Eels, Round 20

The Parramatta Eels take on the St. George Illawarra Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Sunday 4 August in Round 20 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.

After a 24-22 victory over the New Zealand Warriors last week, Arthur has made two changes to his side welcoming back Michael Jennings and Shaun Lane from injury. named in the starting side.

The return of Jennings sees Takairangi moved onto the wing with Ethan Parry dropping out of the side whilst Lane’s return in the back row sees Marata Niukore return to the bench alongside Daniel Alvaro, David Gower and Tepai Moeroa.

Josh Hoffman, Peni Terepo, Jaeman Salmon and Andrew Davey are the reserves.

For the away side,  Head Coach Paul McGregor has named his line up for the clash with Patrick Kaufusi and Jeremy Latimore (knee) named to return on the bench, in an otherwise unchanged team that suffered a 20-16 defeat to the Rabbitohs last week.

Matt Dufty and Josh Kerr drop back to the reserves as a result, with Reece Robson and Jacob Host dropping out of last week's wider squad altogether. 

Match: Dragons v Eels

Round 20 -

Full Time
Dragons

Home Team

Dragons

Scored 4 points
Eels

Away Team

Eels

Scored 12 points

Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • Foxtel
  • LIVE PASS

The match looks a crucial one for the Blue & Gold who look to continue to build momentum and string wins together at the business time of the season.

The Eels have won 4 of their last five games and currently sit sixth on the ladder.  They have a 3-6 record when playing away this season.

The Dragons on the other hand sit in 14th but will be desperate for a victory at home in front of their loyal fans. A heartbreaking loss on the full time siren last week saw the Dragons go down, but there were promising signs for the Red V, with workhorse hooker Cameron McInnes leading the way.

They enter this clash with four losses in a row, and just two wins from their past twelve games, but will be buoyed by their record at the ground, claiming 6 wins from 7 games against the Eels.

Head to head, the Eels have a slight advantage over the Dragons, with 19 wins from 36 games (2 draws) but the more recent record has the Eels winning seven of the last eight. The Eels have not played at Jubilee Stadium since 2012.

On the numbers, the Eels have weapons across the park who feature in NRL-best rankings for tries, points, line breaks, offloads, try assists and line break assists and they boast one of the most prolific scoring attacks in the competition, currently sitting third most of any team (411) from a total of 66 tries.

Moses has more try assists than anyone else in the NRL and has a vital role with the booth leading the NRL for all kicks (22) with halves partner Dylan Brown rarely kicking long. Captain and fullback Clint Gutherson is top five for line break assists and is coming off 212 run metres last game.

Winger Maika Sivo currently sits a top the NRL try scoring list, joint with Ken Maumalo, and will be looking to add to his try tally (14) this season. He scored a double against the Dragons earlier this season and has only failed to find the line in only six matches this year.

Sivo also has the second-most line breaks (14), 59 tackle breaks, and averages 141 metres to go along with his growing collection of tries. 

The Dragons have given up more points than any other side in 2019 but their number nine McInnes leads the NRL for tackles and dummy half runs.

Outgoing skipper Gareth Widdop will be determined to finish his career at the Dragons on a positive note, looking to inspire his team with some win