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Parramatta go into this clash desperate bounce back from a humiliating loss to Manly and stop a four-game skid that has their premiership hopes on life support. 

The Eels have been a fixture in the top four all season but find themselves in sixth spot and while they already have a playoff spot wrapped up they will represent little more than cannon fodder for the Storm, Panthers, Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles and Roosters come finals time if they can't rediscover their early-season form.

And they will have to engineer that turnaround without influential back-rower Ryan Matterson who is expected to spend time on the sideline after being sent off in the 56-10 loss to Manly.

And even though the Cowboys are on a nine-game losing streak and out of finals calculations but Parramatta would be wise not to think they are over the line before kick-off. 

The Cowboys are down on troops but coach Todd Payten is heartened by the performances of the slew of rookies who have been pressed into service.

The rundown

Team news

Eels: The Eels are 1-17 with no late changes.

Oregon Kaufusi (concussion) will play after missing last week's loss to the Sea Eagles.

Centre Tom Opacic (ribs) will miss a couple of weeks with Will Penisini and Haze Dunster promoted from the extended bench to start this week.

Sean Russell and Jake Arthur were omitted 24 hours before the match. Keegan Hipgrave was the last man cut an hour before kick-off and Ray Stone is 18th man.

The Eels have been outscored 124-22 in their past three games.

Cowboys: In late changes an hour before kick-off Jake Granville has gone to the bench, Ben Hampton into the centres and Laitia Moceidreke comes in on the wing for his debut. Mitch Dunn has been promoted to the starting side with Coen Hess reverting to the bench. Tom Gilbert dropped out on game day and Connelly Lemuelu is 18th man.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow trained on Friday and is a late inclusion after a lengthy lay-off due to appendicitis. He will play fullback with Val Holmes on the wing.

Star lock Jason Taumalolo has failed in his bid to return from a broken hand while winger Kyle Feldt (head knock) has also been ruled out. 

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
    Fullback for Cowboys is number 19 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
  • Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
    Winger for Cowboys is number 1 Valentine Holmes
  • Centre for Eels is number 3 Will Penisini
    Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Daejarn Asi
  • Centre for Eels is number 4 Waqa Blake
    Centre for Cowboys is number 5 Ben Hampton
  • Winger for Eels is number 5 Haze Dunster
    Winger for Cowboys is number 21 Laitia Moceidreke
  • Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
    Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Scott Drinkwater
  • Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
    Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Tom Dearden

Forwards

  • Prop for Eels is number 8 Isaiah Papali'i
    Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Francis Molo
  • Hooker for Eels is number 9 Joey Lussick
    Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
  • Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
    Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Ben Condon
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Marata Niukore
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Heilum Luki
  • Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
    Lock for Cowboys is number 16 Mitchell Dunn

Interchange

  • Interchange for Eels is number 14 Will Smith
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 4 Jake Granville
  • Interchange for Eels is number 15 Bryce Cartwright
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 13 Coen Hess
  • Interchange for Eels is number 16 Oregon Kaufusi
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Reuben Cotter
  • Interchange for Eels is number 17 Makahesi Makatoa
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Jeremiah Nanai

Reserves

  • Reserve for Eels is number 18 Ray Stone
    Reserve for Cowboys is number 22 Connelly Lemuelu

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ashley Klein
  • Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

Last updated:

Key match-up

Mitch Moses v Tom Dearden: The Eels halfback has struggled to recapture the form that saw him picked by the Blues for Origin III.

Moses had little impact against Manly and must do better if the Eels are to turn things around. Dearden faces challenges of his own, the former Broncos wunderkind has failed to notch a win since round three when he came off the bench against the Bulldogs for Brisbane and was singled out for his poor kicking in the loss to Wests Tigers.

Stat attack

Parramatta lead the NRL for offloads with North Queensland languishing in 16th place. It could be that ability to pop a pass which secures a desperately needed two points and triggers a change in fortunes. 

 

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