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FIVE THINGS – Broncos v Eels, Round 24

The Parramatta Eels take on the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday 30 August in Round 24 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.

Here are five things you need to know ahead of kick off tonight at 7:55pm.

Team changes

Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur has been forced to make a change to his side to take on the Broncos, with Nathan Brown ruled out for the next fortnight through to suspension.

Marata Niukore comes into the starting side whilst Blake Ferguson also returns from six weeks on the sideline due to a knee injury.

The winger returns, shifting Takairangi to the bench alongside Peni Terepo, David Gower and Daniel Alvaro.

The Broncos named the same seventeen that suffered a two point defeat to the South Sydney Rabbitohs earlier in the week, but Head Coach Anthony Seibold was forced to make a late change 24 hours out from kick off, with Patrick Carrigan called into the side in place of an injured Joe Ofahengaue.

Matt Gillett and Alex Glenn remain in the starting side after returning from injury last week. James Segeyaro, Thomas Flegler, Gehamat Shibasaki and Rhys Kennedy are on the bench with Herbie Farnworth and Shaun Fensom the reserves.

Push towards the finals

The Eels will be looking to return to the winners circle with a victory keeping their hopes of sneaking into the top four alive and also guaranteeing them a home final at worst.

They enter this clash with a 4-1 record over the past five weeks, however hold a 5-6 record on the road away from home this season.

The Broncos currently sit in eighth position on the ladder, and enter the clash with a 3-2 record over the past five rounds. They have a 5-5 record at home and will be looking to make up after a 38-10 thrashing from Parramatta at Bankwest Stadium in Round 14.

They return home in Round 24, desperate for a victory in hopes to keep their season alive.

A loss to the Rabbitohs last week means the highest the Broncos can finish in 2019 is now seventh spot if they win their remaining two games against the Eels and Bulldogs.

Anything less than that can see Anthony Seibold's men slip as far as 13th spot with rival clubs breathing down their neck.

Try scoring wingers

The battle of wingers Corey Oates and Maika Sivo poses an interesting contest.

The Broncos winger has scored 13 tries from his 19 games this season and has an average of 149m per game. A big body that makes plenty of hard yards, the winger also has an outstanding record against the Blue & Gold, scoring in all but one of his seven games against the Eels. He has gone try-less for four matches, his longest drought since Round 3, 2018.

Maika Sivo will also be fired up to wreak havoc after being kept tryless last week. He has sixteen tries this season, sitting equal second on the NRL try scoring list in 2019, alongside Reuben Garrick and Ken Maumalo. Latrell Mitchell sits on top of the table with 17 tries.

The return of Ferguson

The return of Ferguson is also a huge boost for the Blue & Gold. The tall and powerful winger has missed the last six rounds due to a knee infection picked up following the Eels Round 17 clash against the Wests Tigers.

An imposing winger that brings plenty of confidence to the Eels line up, Ferguson has eight tries this season, four try assists, 48 tackle breaks, 7 line breaks and an average of 165m per game.

Loss of Nathan Brown

The loss of Brown will mean the rest of the Eels forwards will have to fill his void. Brown brings plenty of aggression and skill to the Eels forward pack and his absence sees Marata Niukore given the opportunity at lock this week.

With Brown on the field, the Eels have won eight from eleven games, whilst their record without him stands at just 50 per cent (five wins and five losses).

Game Day Preview - Broncos v Eels, Round 24

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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