Eels v Bulldogs: Pritchard returns as both clubs aim to dodge spoon

Round 19 preview: Eels v Bulldogs

It was already the season from hell for Parramatta before last week's 18-16 road loss to Newcastle.

The last-placed Eels jumped out of the gate and looked set to post a cricket score on the Knights, only to stop playing and crashing to their 14th loss in 17 games.

Parra can't seem to play from in front or behind and it's anyone's guess how they will perform when they kick off round 19 against the Bulldogs on Thursday night.

The Doggies are also languishing near the bottom of the ladder and will boost their chances of avoiding the wooden spoon if they can win this one. Coming off last week's loss to Souths, Canterbury got the better of the Eels in round 10, winning 20-12.

Key match-up: Josh Jackson was an Origin player and wants to get back there, while Nathan Brown has never played Origin and is dying for a chance. But they might be waiting a while given the Blues' embarrassment of back row riches and the fact they are coming off a series win. Jackson and Brown don't play the same game but neither takes a backward step and their respective performances could have a big influence on the result. 

For the Eels to win: After blowing a strong start last week, Parra need their playmakers to take charge when things get tight and keep the team on an even keel. They had 10 points in 10 minutes and just six over the final 70 minutes against the Knights and have to find some consistency in their attack.

For the Bulldogs to win: With his team light on experience for the rest of the season, first-year Dogs coach Dean Pay has to rely largely on youthful enthusiasm over the final seven rounds. If they keep their errors down and limit penalties, the Doggies should take care of a team playing with zero confidence.

Eels Stat Attack: Parramatta's recent form may be poor but their recent record against Canterbury is excellent, winning four of their past five games. The Bulldogs also have a poor record in Thursday night contests this year, losing all three matches.

Bulldogs Stat Attack: Rhyse Martin produced a wow of a game a fortnight ago with 24 points including a hat-trick and six goals and his goal-kicking has been a standout since taking over from Moses Mbye after his exit to the Tigers. Martin has kicked 13 goals from 14 attempts at a strike rate of 93% – better than any other regular goal-kicker in the league this season.

And another thing: Between them, Parramatta and the Bulldogs basically owned the early to mid 80s, racking up a collective eight grand final appearances. The Dogs broke the Eels' run of three straight premierships with a 6-4 win in the '84 grand final before Parra sent Mick Cronin and Ray Price into retirement in '86 with a 4-2 defeat of the Dogs in the grand final.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
    Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Will Hopoate
  • Winger for Eels is number 2 Bevan French
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Brett Morris
  • Centre for Eels is number 3 Michael Jennings
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Josh Morris
  • Centre for Eels is number 4 Jarryd Hayne
    Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Kerrod Holland
  • Winger for Eels is number 5 George Jennings
    Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Reimis Smith
  • Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Corey Norman
    Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Lachlan Lewis
  • Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
    Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Jeremy Marshall-King

Forwards

  • Prop for Eels is number 8 Daniel Alvaro
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Aiden Tolman
  • Hooker for Eels is number 9 Kaysa Pritchard
    Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Michael Lichaa
  • Prop for Eels is number 10 Siosaia Vave
    Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 David Klemmer
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Marata Niukore
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 14 Tepai Moeroa
    2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Rhyse Martin
  • Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
    Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Adam Elliott

Interchange

  • Interchange for Eels is number 12 Brad Takairangi
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Fa'amanu Brown
  • Interchange for Eels is number 15 Tim Mannah
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Clay Priest
  • Interchange for Eels is number 17 Peni Terepo
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Danny Fualalo
  • Interchange for Eels is number 21 Reed Mahoney
    Interchange for Bulldogs is number 19 Greg Eastwood

Eels: Kaysa Pritchard replaced Cameron King at hooker in the side named on Tuesday. In a late change Tepai Moeroa moves into the starting side and Brad Takairangi goes back to the bench. Reed Mahoney comes onto the bench and David Gower is out.

Bulldogs: Former Kiwi international Greg Eastwood makes a return to the side and will come off the interchange bench. Ofahiki Ogden is the player omitted to make way for Eastwood.

Head-to-head: Played 143; Bulldogs 76 wins, Eels 62 wins, 5 draws
Previous result: Bulldogs won 20-12 at ANZ Stadium in round 10
Points per game: Eels 14.8; Bulldogs 16.4
Points conceded per game: Eels 23.1; Bulldogs 21.2
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League

Petero Civoniceva's prediction: This is a tough one to get a handle on. Jarryd Hayne got back to some of his best form last week and the Eels pushed the Knights all the way. Despite the scoreline, I thought the Bulldogs were brave against Souths and showed enough in patches to suggest they can finish the season strongly for their fans and first-year coach Dean Pay.

Tip: Bulldogs by 6

Match: Eels vs Bulldogs

Round 19 -

Full Time
Eels

Home Team

Eels

Scored 14 points
Bulldogs

Away Team

Bulldogs

Scored 8 points

Venue: ANZ Stadium

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • Fox League
  • LIVE PASS

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