Bankwest Stadium may be Parramatta's happy place but they will be confident of maintaining their challenge for a top-four spot against the battling Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Sunday.
The Eels, 2-6 on the road if you exclude their Bankwest 'away' win over Wests Tigers, boast one of the most prolific scoring attacks in the competition while St George Illawarra have given up more points than any other side in 2019.
Parramatta have weapons across the park who feature in NRL-best rankings for tries, points, line breaks, offloads, try assists and line break assists while the Dragons' leading man is workhorse hooker Cameron McInnes, No.1 in the NRL for tackles and dummy-half runs.
The Eels bounced back strongly from their round 18 thumping at the hands of Manly to win a tough one over the Warriors while the Dragons fought hard before slumping to their fourth successive defeat in a last-minute heart-breaker against South Sydney.
Match: Dragons v Eels
Round 20 -
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
Dragons: Paul McGregor has kept his starting 13 intact, while Patrick Kaufusi and Jeremy Latimore are the new faces on the bench. Josh Kerr and Matt Dufty were cut from the reserves on Saturday, while Tristan Sailor and Mikaele Ravalawa were omitted on Sunday.
Eels: Michael Jennings (knee) is back in the centres, pushing Brad Takairangi to the wing and Ethan Parry out of the side. Shaun Lane returns from a finger injury in the back row and Marata Niukore goes to the bench. Oregon Kaufusi is the man to drop out. Josh Hoffman and Andrew Davey were omitted on Saturday. Forward Peni Terepo and back Jaeman Salmon were left off on Sunday.
Match: Dragons v Eels
Round 20 -
Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Corey NormanFullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
Winger for Dragons is number 2 Jason SaabWinger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
Centre for Dragons is number 3 Euan AitkenCentre for Eels is number 3 Michael Jennings
Centre for Dragons is number 4 Tim LafaiCentre for Eels is number 4 Waqa Blake
Winger for Dragons is number 21 Mikaele RavalawaWinger for Eels is number 5 Brad Takairangi
Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Gareth WiddopFive-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben HuntHalfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
Prop for Dragons is number 8 Blake LawrieProp for Eels is number 8 Kane Evans
Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Cameron McInnesHooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
Prop for Dragons is number 10 Paul VaughanProp for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Tyson Frizell2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tariq Sims2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Manu Ma'u
Lock for Dragons is number 13 James GrahamLock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Jeremy LatimoreInterchange for Eels is number 14 Marata Niukore
Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Korbin SimsInterchange for Eels is number 15 Daniel Alvaro
Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Patrick KaufusiInterchange for Eels is number 16 David Gower
Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Luciano LeiluaInterchange for Eels is number 17 Tepai Moeroa
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Referee: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
Fit and back in the No.6 jumper, outgoing St George Illawarra skipper Gareth Widdop will be determined to inspire some wins to finish his Dragons career. For the Eels, rookie Dylan Brown has grown in confidence each week since returning from a back injury and could threaten with his running game.
For the Dragons to win
They must shut down Eels playmakers Mitch Moses and Clint Gutherson. Moses has more try assists than anyone else in the NRL while "King" Gutho is top five for line break assists and punched out a mighty 212 run metres against the Warriors.
For the Eels to win
Parramatta must maintain pressure on a Dragons defence that has made more tackles than any other side in the competition by making their work with the ball as clean as possible. The Eels have more handling errors than all but three other teams.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Dragons are another team that definitely need a win to keep their finals hopes alive. I think Ben Hunt will respond strongly this week and Cameron McInnes was great last weekend – he did everything he could to win a game of football for his team. Parramatta have been inconsistent. Brad Arthur as some stage will want to see the team play tough and defend like first grade players for more than one week in a row. Eels by 2
Dragons defenders keen to force kick pressure can lock their sights on Mitchell Moses. The Eels halfback leads the NRL for all kicks (228) and assumes all the responsibility with the boot, rookie pivot Dylan Brown rarely punting the Steeden.
And another thing ...
St George Illawarra carry a three-win streak against the Eels at Kogarah into this clash including back-to-back 30-0 beltings in 2010 and 2011.