Sudden death football from here on out makes every game crucial the sides left in the running. Parramatta Eels clash with the North Queensland Cowboys in what shapes to be another intense affair in the race for the Premiership. Eels are coming off a hard-fought loss to the Minor Premiers Melbourne Storm while the Cowboys kept their title hopes alive with a golden point victory at Cronulla.
Despite losing to the Storm last week, the Eels looked like a side who belonged in the hunt for the finals. They pushed the Minor Premiers and competition bench mark to the brink last week and nearly came away with the shock victory before falling to an 18-16 defeat.
The Cowboys stunned defending Premiers Cronulla Sharks in a 90-minute thriller, with an extra time Michael Morgan field goal sealing a 15-14 win. Cowboys trailed throughout the entire contest but continued to battle their way to the win with Jason Taumalolo ultimately proving the difference in the contest.
Which ever team comes out on top in this one will go onto to face the Sydney Roosters for a place in the Grand Final.
2017 – Rd 14 – North Queensland Cowboys 32 Def Parramatta Eels 6 at TIO Stadium
2017 – Rd 9 – Parramatta Eels 26 Def North Queensland Cowboys 6 at 1300SMILES Stadium
2016 – Rd 8 – North Queensland Cowboys 32 Def Parramatta Eels 16 at 1300SMILES Stadium
2016 – Rd 2 – Parramatta Eels 20 Def North Queensland Cowboys 16 at Pirtek Stadium
2015 – Rd 10 – North Queensland Cowboys 46 Def Parramatta Eels 4 at 1300SMILES Stadium
The Cowboys have won three of the past five matches between the sides in recent years. 2017 has seen both sides pick up a convincing victory apiece over each other.
With this game coming in a must-win finals game, reading too much into the history or form of either side could well be a pointless exercise.
|PARRAMATTA EELS||NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS|
|Will Smith||1||1||Lachlan Coote|
|Semi Radradra||2||2||Kyle Feldt|
|Michael Jennings||3||3||Javid Bowen|
|Brad Takairangi||4||4||Kane Linnett|
|Kirisome Auva’a||5||5||Antonio Winterstein|
|Corey Norman||6||6||Te Maire Martin|
|Mitchell Moses||7||7||Michael Morgan|
|Daniel Alvaro||8||8||John Asiata|
|Cameron King||9||9||Jake Granville|
|Tim Mannah||10||10||Scott Bolton|
|Manu Ma’u||11||11||Gavin Cooper|
|Tepai Moeroa||12||12||Ethan Lowe|
|Nathan Brown||13||13||Jason Taumalolo|
|Beau Scott||14||14||Ben Hampton|
|Kenny Edwards||15||15||Coen Hess|
|Siosaia Vave||16||16||Corey Jensen|
|Suaia Matagi||17||17||Shaun Fensom|
|Kaysa Pritchard||18||18||Ray Thompson|
|Peni Terepo||19||19||Justin O’Neill|
|David Gower||20||20||Braden Uele|
|Josh Hoffman||21||21||Patrick Mago|
The Facts Of The Matter
Parramatta came close last week to knocking off the high flying Storm and despite coming up short will take plenty of confidence out of the match, which would’ve sent a message to the other final contenders too. The energy and enthusiasm that the Eels consistently show is a big reason why they find themselves playing finals football.
Halves Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses have been going from strength to strength since the arrival of Moses. Their kicking games are vital to the Eels’ chances while the finishing abilities of Semi Radradra make them a constant threat.
North Queensland Cowboys
The Cowboys defeated the defending Premiers last week after another barnstorming performance from human wrecking ball Taumalolo. He ran for over 250m and carried multiple Sharks defenders over the line to score the try that saw the Cowboys equal the scores.
Despite limping into the finals and missing a host of star players, including co-captains Matt Scott and Johnathan Thurston, the Cowboys keep defying the odds and showing tremendous fight to come away with wins. The Cowboys were under the pump for much of their encounter last week but their defence managed to hold strong, limiting a Sharks side to only 14 points.
Backing up from a bruising extra time encounter is going to prove a tough obstacle for the Cowboys and may be their undoing. But they have already shown their ability to overcome the odds and with Taumalolo leading the charge, they are tough to write off. Parramatta, on the other hand, will want to make the most of their second chance and qualify for the Preliminary final against the Roosters. Eels by 8.
Who will come out on top in this sudden death final, the Eels or the Cowboys? Let us know in the comments and poll below.
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