General Sportal Warriors vs Eels Preview

PB_old

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Sportal.com.au


VENUE & TIME: Waikato Stadium, Saturday night - 17:30 AEDT
HEAD TO HEAD: Played 17 - Eels 11, Warriors 6
COVERAGE: Fox Sports, 2GB, 4BC, ABC Radio
LAST TIME:Eels 38 - Warriors 20 at Ericsson Stadium, round 22, 2005

WALKING WOUNDED
Eels centre Timana Tahu is in doubt with a hamstring injury, while fellow back Ben Smith should play despite a hand problem.
The Warriors remain injury-free after the weekend, but five-eighth Sione Faumuina will not play due to suspension.

FORM
The Eels looked sluggish against the rejuvenated Knights last weekend and will need to improve their defence around the rucks if they are to rediscover the winning form of last season. Despite leading 6-4 after 24 minutes, the Eels went onto concede 21 unanswered points and make 14 errors for the match.
Nothing seems to have changed at the Warriors with patches of brilliance being out-done by crucial periods of scrappiness. They were in the game for the most part against Melbourne, but those dreaded basics let them down.

WHO'S HOT
Eels lock Glen Morrison was his side's most effective player against the Knights, making 44 tackles and 14 runs for 122 metres. Looked particularly damaging when running on the fringes of the ruck.
Nathan Fien performed soundly in his first NRL outing for the Warriors at halfback since the retirement of club legend Stacey Jones. The pressure is certainly on the former Cowboy to perform, but the early signs are good.

WHO'S NOT
Eels hooker Mark Riddell. He was a shock late exclusion by Brian Smith last week and forced to play in premier league. The Eels certainly missed his bullocking dummy-half running. Gets his chance back in the top grade this week.

KEY MATCH-UPS
Tim Smith v Nathan Fien
Paul Stringer v Steve Price
Ben Smith v Clinton Toopi

LIKE TO SEE
A good performance by replacement Warriors five-eighth Jerome Ropati. This kid can play and he has proved it at the very highest level before, but something has gone amiss at NRL level since displaying early potential.

WOULDN'T LIKE TO SEE
Another restricted display by Eels halfback Tim Smith. Looked tentative last week in Newcastle and rarely took on the line. If Parramatta are to emulate the feats of last season they need their cheeky little number seven to fire.

WE THINK
The Warriors have a woeful record in matches away from Ericsson Stadium in New Zealand and they will not get an easy ride here as the strong Parramatta side look to prove themselves after last week. The astute kicking game of Tim Smith combined with damaging dummy-half running of Marsh and Riddell should be too much for the immobile Warriors forwards to handle. Eels by 12.
 

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