The Parramatta Eels will be looking to reverse the tables on Friday night against the Bulldogs after suffering a 32-12 defeat earlier in the year.
The Bulldogs dominated the opening 15 minutes of the round two fixture after having 12 sets to the Eels two and finishing the half with a completion rate of 73% compared to the Eels 65%.
This area of the game would have no doubt been of concern for the Eels following that loss and for Coach Brad Arthur, starting well would be a focus for the Blue and Gold.
“When we played them this year at the start of the year, they had 12 sets to our two to start the game. We fought back really well in the second half, but at the end we just sort of run out of gas,” Arthur told Eels TV.
“Our start is important, it doesn’t mean we need to be in front on the scoreboard, it just means we need an even possession of the ball.”
The Eels come into the round 19 heritage round match fresh off the bye and looking for win number four on the trot.
Their opponents, the Bulldogs are looking to bounce back after a flat performance against the Broncos in round 18 and with the luxury of having three quality halves in your side, Bulldogs Coach Des Hasler has named his 2014 Grand Final halves pairing of Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds for Friday’s match with Moses Mbye moved to the bench.
It’s a strength of the Bulldogs to have these guys in your side, but controlling the Bulldogs forward pack is a focus for Arthur when he spoke to Eels TV.
“If we don’t control their forwards, it will make that job even harder.
“We need to hold our own against their competitive pack, and we need to try and limit opportunities, space and time for their halves.”
The Eels could make a late change to their line-up for Friday’s clash with injured Hooker Nathan Peats given every opportunity to prove his fitness at the Eels final training session.
“He will train today and if he gets through the session and the Physio gives us the all clear, I want him in the team.”
The Bulldogs take on the Eels at ANZ Stadium tomorrow night, kick off at 7:35pm.
1 Corey Norman
2 Semi Radradra
3 Will Hopoate
4 Brad Takairangi
5 Ryan Morgan
6 Luke Kelly
7 Chris Sandow
8 Junior Paulo
9 Isaac De Gois
10 Tim Mannah (c)
11 Manu Ma'u
12 Tepai Moeroa
13 Anthony Watmough
14 Darcy Lussick
15 Pauli Pauli
16 Danny Wicks
17 David Gower
18 Joseph Paulo