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Parramatta Eels vs South Sydney Rabbitohs: Lineups, Preview & Prediction

ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Friday 1st September, 7.50pm AEST.


Overview

Finals footy is already secured for Parramatta while South Sydney have fallen well short of the mark but this game could still be worth a watch.

The Eels were clinical in their complete decimation of the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium last week, with Toulon-bound Semi Radradra scoring four tries in a performance that illustrated, once again, rugby league’s loss will be union’s gain.

Radradra wasn’t the only standout player as former New South Wales centre Michael Jennings put on a vintage display, notching a brace in the 52-34 demolition. 

The Bunnies come into the game on the back of one of their most humiliating losses ever, with Melbourne storm hitting 64 points against them.

Pressure is mounting on Michael Maguire and that heavy loss will have done nothing to assuage doubts of his ability to turn things around and bring back the glory days of the 2014 Premiership win.

Recent Meetings

2017 – Rd 12 Parramatta Eels 22 def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 16 at ANZ Stadium

2016 – Rd 15 Parramatta Eels 30 def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 at ANZ Stadium

2016 – Rd 10 South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 def. Parramatta Eels 20 at Parramatta Stadium

2015 – Rd 11 South Sydney Rabbitohs 14 def. Parramatta Eels 12 at ANZ Stadium

2015 – Rd 4 Parramatta Eels 29 def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 16 at Parramatta Stadium

Selected Teams

PARRAMATTA SOUTH SYDNEY
Will Smith11Bryson Goodwin
Semi Radradra22Campbell Graham
Michael Jennings33Aaron Gray
Brad Takairangi44Tyrell Fuimaono
Kirisome Auva’a55Robert Jennings
Corey Norman66Cody Walker
Mitchell Moses77Adam Reynolds
Daniel Alvaro88Thomas Burgess
Cameron King99Damien Cook
Tim Mannah1010Sam Burgess
Manu Ma’u1111John Sutton
Tepai Moeroa1212Angus Crichton
Nathan Brown1313Cameron Murray
 INTERCHANGE 
David Gower1414Robbie Farah
Kenny Edwards1515George Burgess
Siosaia Vave1616Kyle Turner
Suaia Matagi1717Dean Britt
 RESERVES 
Kaysa Pritchard1818Jason Clark
Josh Hoffman1919David Tyrrell
Beau Scott2020Siosifa Talakai
Frank Pritchard2121Luke Kelly

The Facts That Matter

Parramatta Eels

The Eels come in to this week having scored a half-century of points at Brisbane however injuries are taking their toll on the club, particularly in the back line where Clint Gutherson and Bevan French have picked up injuries. Brad Arthur has had to throw Will Smith in at fullback over the last few weeks and while he has held up his end of the bargain well, playing some solid footy with minimal mistakes, he lacks the cutting edge and attacking verve that both Gutherson and French provided.

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Last week’s win over the Broncos had the added benefit of catapulting the Eels back into the all-important top four, where they can be considered legitimate challengers for the title alongside the likes of Melbourne Storm. The one negative was how they conceded soft tries to allow the home side to close the gap in the latter stages of the game.

Manu Ma’u returns from suspension, which forces Kenny Edwards back to the bench and Frank Pritchard to the reserves list alongside Kaysa Pritchard. Much of the Eels’ recent form has been on the back of great ball control and set completion as well as their speed and size on the fringes of the ruck.

While the likes of Radradra and Jennings get the headlines, Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses have developed a nice partnership in the halves and the Eels’ forward pack has held its own, making plenty of yardage through the middle third of the field.

South Sydney Rabbitohs

What can you say about the Bunnies last week? From minute one to minute 80, they were comprehensively ripped apart by the best rugby league team in the world right now. They’ll do well to put that straight in to the rear view mirror and move on as quickly as possible.

Some Souths players may still be waking up in a cold sweat at the prospect of dealing with a flying Suliasi Vunivalu or Josh Addo-Carr. Their task doesn’t get any easier this week with Radradra primed and firing in an extended swansong to his Eels career.

burg.jpg

Sam Burgess escaped any concern over a rough head slam accusation against the Storm with the England international being named at prop. Zane Musgrove is missing for the Rabbitohs through suspension with Dean Britt added to the bench as his replacement.

Prior to their humiliation in Melbourne last week, the Rabbitohs had found a small pocket of good form in an otherwise disappointing season, banking three wins on the bounce. Like Parramatta, the Rabbitohs’ wins have come off the back of good completion rates and a strong running game through the middle of the park, meaning we are set for a tough, physical encounter this Friday night.

As ever, much of the good the Bunnies produce in attack will flow through half-back Adam Reynolds and the enigmatic Cody Walker, especially in the absence of key strike-weapon Alex Johnston.

Prediction

This is an interesting but tough one to pick. The impetus, form and team sheets make it hard to go past the Eels, especially considering they need a win to guarantee their place in the top four ahead of the Sharks.

That said, games in the last week of the season, against an opposition with only pride to play for, have a tendency to throw up weird and wacky results.

I’ll take the safe bet of Parramatta by a clear margin but don’t be surprised if this is a wild and crazy game.

How do you see this Friday night clash between the Eels and Rabbitohs playing out? Let us know in the comments and poll below.

  1. Poll: Who wins this Friday night clash, the Eels or the Rabbitohs?

    1. Parramatta Eels
    2. South Sydney Rabbitohs
    29 votes
    Share Your Result

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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.

Parramatta Eels vs South Sydney Rabbitohs: Lineups, Preview & Prediction

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