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Match Preview: Eels v Cowboys

The Eels and Cowboys will meet for the first time since their epic 2022 Preliminary Final as Parramatta make their return to CommBank Stadium on Friday night.

The Blue & Gold will be buzzing for their first match in PARRAdise in almost a month, buoyed by their big win over the Rabbitohs and the arrival of Joe Ofahengaue.

Classic Encounter: Eels v Cowboys

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Team News

There have been big changes to both sides in light of State of Origin selection, injuries and recruitment.

The Eels have lost three forwards from last week's win over Souths with Junior Paulo (Origin), Ryan Matterson (calf) and Andrew Davey (concussion) all unavailable.

Joe Ofahengaue, who signed with the Eels this week in a mid-season transfer, has been brought into the starting side at front row for his Parramatta debut.

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Young prop Luca Moretti will make his NRL debut after being named on the bench in jersey no. 16. The other new face is Matt Doorey, who returns to the NRL side in the second row.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, have lost four players to Origin duty: Valentine Holmes, Murray Taulagi, Rueben Cotter and Tom Dearden.

Zac Laybutt and Robert Derby have been named to make their NRL debuts for North Queensland, while Jason Taumalolo is included as a reserve after missing the past month with a knee injury.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
    Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Scott Drinkwater
  • Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
    Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
  • Centre for Eels is number 3 Will Penisini
    Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Zac Laybutt
  • Centre for Eels is number 4 Bailey Simonsson
    Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Peta Hiku
  • Winger for Eels is number 5 Sean Russell
    Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Robert Derby
  • Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
    Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Ben Hampton
  • Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
    Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Chad Townsend


  • Prop for Eels is number 8 Wiremu Greig
    Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Jordan McLean
  • Hooker for Eels is number 9 Josh Hodgson
    Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
  • Prop for Eels is number 10 Joe Ofahengaue
    Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Coen Hess
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Bryce Cartwright
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Heilum Luki
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Matt Doorey
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 14 Jack Gosiewski
  • Lock for Eels is number 13 J'maine Hopgood
    Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jake Granville


  • Interchange for Eels is number 14 Ofahiki Ogden
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 11 Luciano Leilua
  • Interchange for Eels is number 15 Brendan Hands
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Kulikefu Finefeuiaki
  • Interchange for Eels is number 16 Luca Moretti
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
  • Interchange for Eels is number 17 Makahesi Makatoa
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Griffin Neame


  • Replacement for Eels is number 18 Daejarn Asi
    Replacement for Cowboys is number 19 Brendan Elliot

Match Officials

  • Referee: Liam Kennedy
  • Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
  • Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Form Guide

The Eels enter the match on the back of a statement win over South Sydney in Indigenous Round. Parramatta's halves were immense as the Blue & Gold blew the Rabbitohs off the park away from home.

NRL Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Eels

North Queensland suffered a crushing 48-point defeat to the Wests Tigers last week, and will be desperate to bounce back.

Recent History

The past ten meetings between the Eels and Cowboys have been split down the middle, with each side enjoying five wins.

Their most recent encounter came in last year's Preliminary Finals, when the Eels famously travelled to Townsville and secured a Grand Final berth against all odds.

Key Match-Up

With both sides missing several key players, halfbacks Mitchell Moses and Chad Townsend will be tasked with rallying their troops on Friday night.

The two no. 7s have posted fairly even statistics this season, and both will be on a mission to lead their undermanned team to an important victory.

Key Stat

New Eels recruit Joe Ofahengaue is set to face the Cowboys for the second time in the space of seven days.

The 27-year old played part and scored a try in Wests Tigers' 66-18 win over North Queensland on Saturday, and will tackle the same opposition this week in his Blue & Gold debut.

Match Information

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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