You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Eels coach Brad Arthur expects Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Junior Paulo to take an imposing Broncos pack head-on in the absence of enforcer Nathan Brown.

Brown is out of Thursday's season-resuming clash at Suncorp Stadium between the undefeated sides after copping a two-match ban for dangerous contact in round two. Marata Niukore replaces him in the No.13 jersey.

Losing the fiery lock is a blow against the likes of Payne Haas, Pat Carrigan and the returning Matt Lodge, but Arthur is confident his team can match motors with them.

"Brownie does lead a lot of that aggression, but Reg [Campbell-Gillard] flies out of the line and [so does] Junior," Arthur said on Wednesday.

"It's just making sure that we're disciplined with it, there's a time and place that we need to do it, but I'm expecting both Junior and Reg to want to get us on the front foot early and come with plenty of intent."

Arthur believes Niukore is primed to deputise for Brown. The 23-year-old is used to playing in the run-on side, having started in the second row for the first half of 2019.

Gutherson: Haas has to be stopped

"Marata's done a really good job of coming off the bench [this year] and upping the ante, so he's going to have to do that from the start," he said.

"Marata's someone that if we give him a job to do, he'll do it and he'll do it to the best of his ability."

Arthur had praise for another of his middle men, young hooker Reed Mahoney, who is a certain starter after overcoming the broken foot he suffered against the Titans two months ago.

"It would have been interesting to see how we would have handled that period without Reedy, but we didn't have to [due to the NRL shutdown]," Arthur said.

"It is a blessing in disguise for us with what's happened and Reed comes back. He might be a touch underdone, but he's worked extremely hard to get himself back in this position to be able to play for his teammates, and we appreciate it."

Arthur said he had no thoughts of resting Mahoney.

The mentor conceded there could be some rust in Parramatta's game - and across the competition - so he'll be focusing on effort.

"It's a privilege for us and the Broncs to be the first game  … It's a good opportunity for both teams to really go at it and sell our game," Arthur said.

He also claimed the Eels would mentally have "no edge" over Brisbane despite the record 58-0 finals thumping they dished out in September.

"If anything, the last game that they might be remembering is the last time we played them at Suncorp, it went down to a golden-point thriller [won by Brisbane]," he said.

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.

Major Sponsor

Premier Partners

View All Partners