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There's a few games that are toss-ups in Round 8 and this might be the hardest of all to pick.

Both teams are coming off losses and it'll be interesting to see who wants it more come Sunday.

Parramatta were probably never going to play as well last week as they did in the previous week's shellacking of the Tigers, but they didn't match the Knights' hunger and energy in the first half and left themselves too much ground to make up despite giving it a decent crack.

The Dragons also paid the price for some questionable decision-making in the first 25 minutes against the Roosters but they matched it for the most part with the competition's benchmark team and shouldn't lose any confidence.

The Rundown

Team news

Eels: Daniel Alvaro has been named to start at prop after missing last week's game (concussion), while Peni Terepo drops back to the bench. Ray Stone and Josh Hoffman were the two players left out an hour before kick-off. Tim Mannah and George Jennings dropping out of the side on Saturday.

Dragons: Mikaele Ravalawa has been promoted to the starting side on the wing and Zac Lomax moves to the centres. Euan Aitken goes from starting centre to the bench. Blake Lawrie has been named to start and Jacob Host is on the bench although Paul McGregor switched them last week on game day and may do the same again. After Lachlan Timm and Jonus Pearson dropped off the reserves bench 24-hours before kick-off, Mitchell Allgood and Jai Field were omitted an hour before game time.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
    Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Matthew Dufty
  • Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
    Winger for Dragons is number 2 Jordan Pereira
  • Centre for Eels is number 3 Michael Jennings
    Centre for Dragons is number 3 Zac Lomax
  • Centre for Eels is number 4 Brad Takairangi
    Centre for Dragons is number 4 Timoteo Lafai
  • Winger for Eels is number 5 Blake Ferguson
    Winger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
  • Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Jaeman Salmon
    Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey Norman
  • Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
    Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt

Forwards

  • Prop for Eels is number 8 Daniel Alvaro
    Prop for Dragons is number 8 James Graham
  • Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
    Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Cameron McInnes
  • Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
    Prop for Dragons is number 10 Paul Vaughan
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Tyson Frizell
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Marata Niukore
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tariq Sims
  • Lock for Eels is number 13 Tepai Moeroa
    Lock for Dragons is number 13 Blake Lawrie

Interchange

  • Interchange for Eels is number 14 Peni Terepo
    Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Jeremy Latimore
  • Interchange for Eels is number 16 Oregon Kaufusi
    Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Euan Aitken
  • Interchange for Eels is number 17 Manu Ma'u
    Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Jacob Host
  • Interchange for Eels is number 19 Kane Evans
    Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Luciano Leilua

Key match-up

Can't go past the clash of halfbacks Mitch Moses and Ben Hunt. Moses wasn't happy to be out-played by Mitchell Pearce last week and will be looking to make amends. Hunt is the forgotten man in the Queensland Origin selection frame, but he could be thrown a lifeline with Daly Cherry-Evans battling an ankle injury. Hunt could rocket into calculations if he has a big game on Sunday.

For the Eels to win

After demolishing the Tigers in a first-half blitz in round six, the Eels copped a taste of their own medicine against the Knights before working their way into the game. It was a jolting reminder how important it is to be ready to play every week and not just expect things to fall into place. The Eels have to go out and make it happen in front of the Bankwest Stadium faithful.

For the Dragons to win

James Graham has to push himself and his fellow forwards to get over the top of Parra's solid pack, while playmakers Hunt and Corey Norman need to take charge and get their team good attacking options. Norman should be particularly fired up for a big one against his former team.

Brett Kimmorley says

The Dragons lost on Anzac Day but they’ve found their niche. Parramatta were really disappointing against Newcastle. This will be a good game. Key halves that have got better at managing situations and forward packs that are going to rip in. I think Parra will be a bit angrier after what happened last week. This is a test for Parramatta. Eels by 1

Stat Attack

Mitch Moses has 55 points in 2019 to be equal third among the NRL's top point-scorers, while Clint Gutherson is tops in run metres (1,268) and line break assists.

And another thing ...

For a bloke who wasn't originally really part of Brad Arthur's plans in 2019, rookie hooker Reed Mahoney is playing like a seasoned pro. He is second in the NRL in tackles made (339) and the only man above him is Dragons hooker Cameron McInnes (340). The pair are set for an intriguing head-to-head duel on Sunday.