Eels v Warriors: Schick Preview
Wed 31 May, 2017, 9:00am
By Corey Rosser, New Zealand Correspondent, NRL.com
Eels v Warriors: Schick Preview
Schick Hydro Preview: Parramatta Eels v New Zealand Warriors
Both last-up winners in the NRL Telstra Premiership, the Eels and Warriors meet for the second time in two months this Friday night at ANZ Stadium.
Parramatta sit just one spot outside of the top eight after racing out to a commanding lead last week before surviving a late South Sydney comeback in a 22-16 win, which halted a two-match losing streak.
The Warriors also enjoyed their first win in three games last week, downing a depleted Brisbane Broncos 28-10 in Auckland.
After missing Round 12 with a rib injury, destructive lock Nathan Brown returns for Parramatta, which sees Will Smith drop out of the 17. Former Warrior Suaia Matagi starts at prop with Siosaia Vave and Beau Scott reverting to the bench.
For the Warriors, centre Solomone Kata returns at the expense of impressive rookie Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, with David Fusitua moving to the wing.
Why the Eels can win: The Warriors haven't been able to win on the road at all so far in 2017, going down in all five of their road trips this season, while they score only 14.8 away points on average per game compared to 20.2 at home. Parra on the other hand have been solid at home this season, winning three out of five, with the two losses coming against current top-eight sides. Home ground carries a bit more weight for the Eels this week and it should give them some confidence ahead of running out on Friday night.
Why the Warriors can win: The Warriors' pack dominated last week, helping the team to 1849 total run metres, and the spine fired off the back of it. Shaun Johnson returned to his best for the 80 minutes against Brisbane, laying on a pair of tries along with scoring one himself, in a match where he clocked 75 NRL Fantasy points. Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had a try and 210 running metres, while hooker Issac Luke had arguably his best match of the season. If they can replicate that on Friday night it's unlikely they'll be beaten.
The history: Played 37; Eels 20; Warriors 17. The Warriors got up for a 22-10 victory in their meeting against the Eels back in April, while prior to that Parramatta had only one win in their four most recent games against the Kiwi club. This will be just the second time the Warriors have played at ANZ Stadium since losing the grand final at the ground back in 2011.
What are the odds: Sportsbet has taken 50 per cent more money on Parramatta in the head-to-head market, but punters are more keen on Eels 1-12 rather than 13+. Semi Radradra is the most popular in the first try-scorer market.
Match officials: Referee: Ashley Klein. Assistant referee: Chris Sutton. Sideline officials: Nick Beashel and Kasey Badger. Review official: Bryan Norrie. Senior review official: Bernard Sutton.
Televised: Fox Sports – Live coverage from 7.50pm (AEST). Sky Sports - Live coverage from 9.50pm (NZT).
NRL.com predicts: Both of these sides have powerful backlines full of skilful players, which should mean there's plenty of exciting footy played in this one. Parramatta probably have a slight edge on paper, and the fact that the game is being played at ANZ Stadium means we are leaning towards the Eels getting up for the win. Parramatta by six.