The Parramatta Eels kept their perfect home ground record this season intact last week with an 18 – 16 win over a full strength Cowboys outfit.
The Eels had their noses in front for the entire match and the return of Jarryd Hayne, who was missing from their previous week’s poor loss to Penrith, was invaluable as the star fullback scored a try and played a significant role in two others.
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He, along with Will Hopoate and possibly Willie Tonga, will be missing for this week’s clash due to the second State Of Origin and will leave big gaps in the Parramatta back-line to fill.
Parramatta is in eighth spot on the competition ladder on sixteen points, only two points of the leaders and level with four other sides.
If they are to maintain this position, one aspect of their game they’ll need to work on, and that will be vital this weekend against a generally ruthless Bulldogs side, is their ability to close out a game.
Some silly mistakes late in the game last week, when in possession and leading, almost invited the Cowboys back into the game and cost them victory, as it did in round 7 against the Tigers.
The halves of Sandow and Norman have to step up in this regard when the fate of the game is on the line.
For the second week in a row the Bulldogs were defeated by 20 points or more, firstly to the Roosters and then last week, Manly.
The Roosters loss (32 – 12) was when Canterbury, who had won their previous seven games straight, were missing several key players for the first State Of Origin whilst last week’s loss was in trying conditions against a Manly side out to redeem themselves in front of their home crowd after suffering heavily to the Broncos in round 12.
Origin and the draw have combined to make this a trying time for the Bulldogs who will again this week be without regular halves pairing, Hodkinson and Reynolds. Also missing are Chase Stanley and Aidan Tolman with injury.
Debutante Damien Cook and former Parramatta Eel Reni Matui, who has played one game this year, come into the halves.
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HEAD TO HEAD
One positive the Bulldogs do have going for them this week though, is their comprehensive record over the Eels in recent years.
They’ve won the last six matches between the two sides, five by margins of 13+.
In most of those games the Bulldogs, unlike they will be on Sunday, have fielded a full strength side whilst Parramatta had been hopelessly out of form.
With a few things changing in both regards this Sunday, this game might be closer than the current market suggests and if the Eels can play some smart football when it has to be played, might be able to give the Bulldogs a run for the money.
Either side under 6.5 @ $2.79 or something small on the Eels 1 – 12.
All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.
Bulldogs: Sam Perrett, Mitch Brown, Josh Jackson, Tim Lafai, Krisnan Inu, Reni Maitua, Damien Cook, Sam Kasiano, Michael Ennis (c), James Graham, Greg Eastwood, Tony Williams, Dale Finucane
Interchange: Pat O’Hanlon, Tim Browne, David Klemmer, Corey Thompson, Lloyd Perrett (one to be omitted).
Eels: Ken Sio, Semi Radradra, Ryan Morgan, Willie Tonga, Vai Toutai, Corey Norman, Chris Sandow, Tim Mannah (c), Isaac De Gois, Junior Paulo, Kenny Edwards, Manu Ma’u, Joseph Paulo.
Interchange: David Gower, Peni Terepo, Lee Mossop, Pauli Pauli.