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Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Parramatta Eels: Lineups, Preview & Prediction

ANZ Stadium, Sydney, 2nd August, 7.50pm AEST.


Overview

Finals footy is a distant dream for the Bulldogs as their 2017 campaign has lurched from one mishap to another, and with Round 22 upon us, they have nothing more than pride to play for from here until the end of the season.

In stark contrast, the Parramatta Eels have enjoyed one of their best efforts in many years and are set to play finals football for the first time since 2009, when they were propelled through to an unlikely Grand Final on the back of Jarryd Hayne.

This time around, they have lost talismanic young star Clint Gutherson, but with stars like Corey Norman and Bevan French picking up the slack and Mitchell Moses bedding himself in and playing his best footy since his mid-season move from the Tigers, things are still looking up for the blue and golds.

Recent Meetings

2017 – Rd 17 Parramatta 13 def. Canterbury-Bankstown 12 at ANZ Stadium

2016 – Rd 9 Parramatta 20 def. Canterbury-Bankstown 12 at Parramatta Stadium

2016 – Rd 3 Parramatta 20 def. Canterbury-Bankstown 6 at ANZ Stadium

2015 – Rd 19 Canterbury-Bankstown 28 def. Parramatta 4 at ANZ Stadium

2015 – Rd 2 Canterbury-Bankstown 32 def. Parramatta 12 at ANZ Stadium

The Eels have won their last three games against the Bulldogs and have come out of a poor run in which they lost nine of ten games against the Belmore-based club from 2011 to 2015.

There will be little in the way of home advantage with the Eels taking up temporary residence at ANZ Stadium alongside their opponents this week, but given the contrasting seasons the two teams have had, the Eels seem more comfortable at the former Olympic stadium.

Selected Teams

BULLDOGS
 
EELS
Will Hopoate11Bevan French
Brett Morris22Semi Radradra
Josh Morris33Michael Jennings
Chase Stanley44Brad Takairangi
Marcelo Montoya55Kirisome Auva’a
Josh Reynolds66Corey Norman
Matt Frawley77Mitchell Moses
Aiden Tolman88Siosaia Vave
Moses Mbye99Cameron King
James Graham1010Tim Mannah
Josh Jackson1111Manu Ma’u
Adam Elliott1212Tepai Moeroa
David Klemmer1313Nathan Brown
 
INTERCHANGE
 
Sam Kasiano1414Daniel Alvaro
Raymond Faitala-Mariner1515Kenny Edwards
Danny Fualalo1616Suaia Matagi
Michael Lichaa1717Peni Terepo
 
RESERVES
 
Francis Tualau1918David Gower
Kerrod Holland2019Will Smith
Asipeli Fine2120Frank Pritchard
Brenko Lee2321Josh Hoffman

The Facts That Matter

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

While these two old rivals from some epic clashes in the 1980s facing each other to kick off this year’s ‘Retro Round’, there’s little to be excited about for the Bulldogs who appear about as far away from their glory days as ever.

Slumped down in 13th place on the NRL ladder and with internal strife thought to be rampant, Des Hasler and his side seem more likely to hunker down and wish away the rest of the season than coming out and cause an upset against a team riding high after securing finals footy for the first time since 2009.

matt-frawley_8pa2mlkjm32014xvr06bnophg.jpg

In terms of the lineup, the Bulldogs welcome back the experience of Brett Morris from illness, with the former New South Wales and Australia winger pushing the average Kerrod Holland back to the reserves list in a move which dramatically increases both the attack and defence of the side on that fringe. 

It wasn’t so long ago that the Bulldogs pushed the Eels to golden point, ultimately losing 13-12 after trailing 12-0 at one stage, but the chances of Canterbury doing the same this time around will hinge on their ability to both protect the football and create scoring opportunities for their outside backs.

While they haven’t been a free-spirited outfit with ball in hand throughout the year, the Bulldogs could free things up just a little bit with the pressure released and will need to score points to match it with an Eels side which has had no problems throwing the ball around across the park.

As with most weeks, the Bulldogs will want to make this game a grind through the middle of the park and if they can do that, they have a fighter’s chance of getting something out of the contest.

Parramatta Eels

For the Eels, they will want to continue to do what they have been doing most weeks this season, free-flowing, exciting footy coupled with some big-boppers capable of dishing out the big hits in the middle of the park.

The Eels overcame the loss of Clint Gutherson to stifle and out-play a high-flying Broncos outfit last week at the same venue and will back themselves to have too much skill and attacking flair for the Bulldogs to contain them. Especially once Norman and Moses shift proceedings to the fringes, taking advantage of speedsters like Semi Radradra, Michael Jennings and Bevan French, who has slotted perfectly in as the custodian at the back.

semi-radradra-and-michael-jennings-of-the-parramatta-eels-data.jpg

Head coach Brad Arthur has named an unchanged 17 this week with his team coming through unscathed in the bruising encounter with Brisbane. Frank Pritchard, named as a reserve, could be inching closer to an NRL return, which could add further size and aggression to a forward pack led by Nathan Brown and Tim Mannah in recent weeks.

With five straight wins, the Eels represent one of the in-form teams in the competition and their biggest challenge this week may well be motivating themselves to ensure they don’t underestimate a Bulldogs side capable of grinding out results if things go their way.

Momentum is one the side of the Eels and there is a feel good factor about the Parramatta club across their large and passionate supporter base. A 2009-like run to the decider could be on the cards if things continue to click and Brad Arthur steers them in the right direction.

Prediction

It’s almost impossible to tip the Bulldogs in this one. Weather conditions and the traditional greasy surface at ANZ Stadium could play to their benefit, but the Eels have played plenty of footy there as well and they’re playing too well to lose to the Bulldogs. Parramatta by 10-12 points.

Who will win this Thursday night blockbuster, the Bulldogs or the Eels? Let us know in the comments and poll below.

  1. Poll: Who will win this Thursday night blockbuster, the Bulldogs or the Eels?

    1. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
    2. Parramatta Eels
    37 votes
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Daniel Lang

Rugby League & Cricket editor at RealSport.

Daniel is a passionate advocate for the game of rugby league and the development of the sport across the world and, as such, writes with a zeal and determination to spread the gospel of the game.

A huge fan of cricket, football, NFL, Tennis and Supercar racing in Australia, Daniel can quickly find himself a casual fan of just about any sport after putting his mind to watching it.

Daniel is also one-half of the hugely successful podcast 'Panthers Weekly with Strawbs & Teach' where he talks all things Panthers Weekly while he also hosts the current affairs show 'the Strawbs Show' and the 'Summer of Cricket with Strawbs & Shnuu' as well as appearing on the Sydney FC covering 'Nothing But Blue Skies' podcast occasionally.

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Parramatta Eels: Lineups, Preview & Prediction

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