Match Preview: Eels v Sea Eagles, Round 25

The Parramatta Eels take on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Bankwest Stadium on Friday 6 September in Round 25 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.

For the final home game of the regular season, Blue & Gold has made a handful of changes to his side that suffered a 17-16 defeat to the Brisbane Broncos last week.

With only Eels lock Nathan Brown unavailable due to suspension, Arthur has named Ray Stone and Tepai Moeroa to return on the bench alongside Brad Takairangi and Daniel Alvaro.

David Gower, Will Smith, Peni Terepo and Josh Hoffman are the reserves.

For the opposition, Head Coach Des Hasler has been forced to make a change to his side with fullback Tom Trbojevic ruled out with injury after suffering a torn pec in the loss to the Melbourne Storm last week.

Brendan Elliot slots into the fullback role in the absence of Tom Trbojevic. Also on the injured list are back-rower Jack Gosiewski (knee) and bench forward Morgan Boyle (arm). Corey Waddell moves into the starting side and Sean Keppie comes onto the bench for his NRL debut. Lloyd Perrett also joins the bench.

Whilst both teams are guaranteed to be finals-bound, this clash will only potentially have an impact on which side finishes above the other on the table, with the Blue & Gold potentially leapfrogging the Sea Eagles if they win by 12 or more.

The Eels will be determined to return to the winners circle with a bit of momentum heading into the finals, suffering losses in the past fortnight.

The Sea Eagles also are coming off a loss, but will be faced with the discouraging statistic that they have won just four of the ten matches earlier this season when Tom Trbojevic was missing.

Historically, the Sea Eagles hold a head to head advantage over the Eels, but in recent times, the Eels have won six of the last eight clashes. When they met earlier this season in Round 18, the Sea Eagles claimed a 36-24 victory at home.

At home, the Eels have a 8-3 record whilst the Sea Eagles have a 6-5 record when travelling on the road.  Both teams have a 3-2 record over the past five rounds.

The battle of the halves will go a long way in determining the result in this clash. The Eels failed to complete 11 of their 38 sets in the loss to the Broncos and the Manly didn't finish off 10 of their 31 sets going down to Storm so both Daly Cherry-Evans and Mitch Moses will be looking to control and steer their team around the park.

Cherry-Evans leads the NRL in 40/20s and he loves to turn the momentum of a game by catching the opposition off guard.  

However the early ground work must be done by the men in the middle. Addin Fonua-Blake and Martin Taupau pose big threats up front and their aggression will need to be met early by Kane Evans and Junior Paulo, with Evans celebrating his 100th NRL game.

Evans has run over 110m per game over the past four weeks and will be looking for another big effort in his milestone clash.

Blake Ferguson was also huge in his return from injury last week and his combination with Waqa Blake (last week was their first game together) will only continue to improve.

Kick off to the clash is at 6pm.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
    Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Brendan Elliot
  • Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jorge Taufua
  • Centre for Eels is number 3 Michael Jennings
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Brad Parker
  • Centre for Eels is number 4 Waqa Blake
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Moses Suli
  • Winger for Eels is number 5 Blake Ferguson
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben Garrick
  • Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
    Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Dylan Walker
  • Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
    Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans

Forwards

  • Prop for Eels is number 8 Kane Evans
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
  • Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
    Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
  • Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela Paseka
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Manu Ma'u
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Curtis Sironen
  • Lock for Eels is number 15 Daniel Alvaro
    Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic

Interchange

  • Interchange for Eels is number 13 Marata Niukore
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 11 Corey Waddell
  • Interchange for Eels is number 14 Brad Takairangi
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Manase Fainu
  • Interchange for Eels is number 16 Ray Stone
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Sean Keppie
  • Interchange for Eels is number 17 Tepai Moeroa
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Lloyd Perrett