The Eels are a couple more wins away from beginning to plan for playing in the finals as a top-four side.
If they're able to knock off the Dragons this week, they'll be at least three wins clear of fifth with only six matches remaining.
The Dragons don't want to hear anything about such talk; they need to win to keep their slim finals hopes alive.
The continued absence of Paul Vaughan due to a COVID regulations infraction doesn't help them at all.
Match: Eels v Dragons
Round 14 -
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Eels: Parramatta will start 1-17 after Andrew Davey and Haze Dunster were omitted 60 minutes before the match. Ryan Matterson will return from concussion in the back row with Marata Niukore dropping to the bench. Stefano Utoikamanu and Brad Takairangi were omitted 24 hours before kick-off.
The Eels have won nine of their past 10 games against the Dragons.
Dragons: St George Illawarra will start 1-17 after Brayden Wiliame and Eddie Blacker were the two players left out an hour before kick-off. Corey Norman has been recalled at five-eighth, shifting Ben Hunt to hooker and Cam McInnes to lock with the suspended Jackson Ford out. Tyrell Fuimaono starts in the back row following a shoulder injury to Tariq Sims.
Trent Merrin is also out with Korbin Sims and Jacob Host the new faces on the pine. Jason Saab and Jayden Sullivan were the players to drop out of the extended squad on Friday night.
The Dragons have averaged 25 points per game since Round 9 but won only twice.
Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton GuthersonFullback for Dragons is number 1 Matthew Dufty
Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika SivoWinger for Dragons is number 2 Jordan Pereira
Centre for Eels is number 3 Michael JenningsCentre for Dragons is number 3 Euan Aitken
Centre for Eels is number 4 Waqa BlakeCentre for Dragons is number 4 Zac Lomax
Winger for Eels is number 5 Blake FergusonWinger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan BrownFive-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Corey Norman
Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell MosesHalfback for Dragons is number 7 Adam Clune
Prop for Eels is number 8 Reagan Campbell-GillardProp for Dragons is number 8 Blake Lawrie
Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed MahoneyHooker for Dragons is number 9 Ben Hunt
Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior PauloProp for Dragons is number 10 Josh Kerr
2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Tyson Frizell
2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Ryan Matterson2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tyrell Fuimaono
Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan BrownLock for Dragons is number 13 Cameron McInnes
Interchange for Eels is number 14 Ray StoneInterchange for Dragons is number 14 Tristan Sailor
Interchange for Eels is number 15 Marata NiukoreInterchange for Dragons is number 15 Kaide Ellis
Interchange for Eels is number 16 Kane EvansInterchange for Dragons is number 16 Korbin Sims
Interchange for Eels is number 17 Oregon KaufusiInterchange for Dragons is number 17 Jacob Host
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
- Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
- Video Referee: Beau Scott
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
Clint Gutherson v Matt Dufty. Gutherson continues to impress with his all-around game while Dufty has turned a 2020 campaign that at one stage included doubts over his future in the league into a great comeback story. Both men revel in open space. Dufty, in particular, is lethal against a tiring opposition.
A look at the offload stats shows one outlier – the Eels. They have completed 59 more offloads than the second-placed team (the Roosters) and a whopping 88 more than the Dragons side they will face on Friday.