Parramatta Eels vs Newcastle Knights: Lineups, preview and prediction

ANZ Stadium, Saturday 2nd June, 7:35pm AEST.


Overview

The Parramatta Eels have had a season to forget, with a side everyone thought capable of challenging for the premiership they are languishing at the bottom of the table. In recent weeks there has definitely been more signs of fight and life in their play however their execution is still lacking. Out of finals contention they are playing for pride and a few players are playing for a spot in the side with not a single player in good form. 

The Newcastle Knights enjoyed a flying start to the season and have slowly been pegged back despite the continued brilliance of Kalyn Ponga. Mitchell Pearce’s injury has slowed the cohesion of the team and they now look unlikely to make the eight. 

An Origin weekend neither side loses a player to the great inter-state series with the current form of both sides largely affecting players credentials. 

Recent Meetings

2017 – Round 23 – Newcastle Knights 29 def. Parramatta Eels 10 at ANZ Stadium

2016 – Round 12 – Parramatta Eels 20 def. Newcastle Knights 18 at McDonald Jones Stadium

2015 – Round 7 – Parramatta Eels 28 def. Newcastle Knights 22 at McDonald Jones Stadium

2014 – Round 25 – Newcastle Knights 42 def. Parramatta Eels 12 at McDonald Jones Stadium

2014 – Round 16 – Newcastle Knights 16 def. Parramatta Eels 10 at Pirtek Stadium

The last time these sides met it was the Newcastle Knights springing a surprise upset on the Eels who were pushing for a top 4 spot. As this fixture stands it’s almost a complete change of fortunes for both sides. The Knights couldn’t buy a win for much of last season and now have five already this year with a building side and the Eels have a miserly two. 

Lineups

Parramatta EelsNewcastle Knights
1Bevan FrenchKalyn Ponga
2Josh HoffmanKen Sio
3Michael JenningsSione Mata’utia
4Brad TakairangiCorey Denniss
5George JenningsShaun Kenny-Dowall
6Clinton GuthersonConnor Watson
7Mitchell MosesJack Cogger
8Daniel AlvaroJacob Lillyman
9Cameron KingSlade Griffin
10Siosaia VaveDaniel Saifiti
11Manu Ma’uLachlan Fitzgibbon
12Tepai MoeroaMitchell Barnett
13Peni TerepoAidan Guerra
Interchange
14Will SmithDanny Levi
15Suaia MatagiChris Heighington
16David GowerJamie Buhrer
17Marata NiukoreJosh King
Reserves
18Nathan BrownLuke Yates
19Kirisome Auva’aBrent Naden
20Jaeman SalmonNick Meaney
21Kane EvansPat Mata’utia

The facts that matter

Parramatta Eels

The effort has been there in the last couple of weeks however it needed to be there since the start of the season. Now that they are trying new attacking structures it will takes it time to stick and it’s all too little too late. 

Boast excitement machines in Bevan French and Clinton Gutherson. If Mitchell Moses can help bring them into the game their natural brilliance will cause problems for the Knights defensive line which leaked 48 points last weekend. 

The Eels showed against the Warrios a few weeks ago they’re at their best when offloading the ball for the quick and elusive outside backs. Last week against the Broncos Terepo and Alvaro both presented opportunities for second phase play only for no one to back them up. Turn that around and more points will be on the board no doubt.

Playing for pride however it may be a big motivator. No side wants the dreaded wooden spoon and the Knights could tell Parramatta all about that. The Eels need to see their season now as a chance to finish it off positively and get back to enjoying their football and giving the fans something to cheer about. 

Newcastle Knights

They look a side that despite being much changed in cavalry this year have benefitted largely from the resilience they forged after a few long and lean seasons. Continue to show up every week and put up a worthy fight they just lack the direction and instinctual playmaking of Pearce. 

The Knights need to improve their defence being the worst in the competition, last week was no anomaly. They are still such a young side and that lack of experience may be an indicator of a lack of trust in defense. They need to turn it around at ANZ or risk watching their season completely fall away.

Nathan Brown is brutally candid in every post-match press conference and you know he will have his men prepared for this one, no different to any other week. They need a win here to show they are heading in the right direction as a club. 

Prediction

The Newcastle Knights are without Mitchell Pearce still for at least another five weeks yet despite also losing four in a row have showed more signs of life than Parramatta. Additionally the Knights have not had the off-field struggles or distractions of the Eels who despite two wins this year have not had a polished performance as yet. 

Ponga oozes confidence for the Knights and with it rubbing off on others and the fact their attack looks better than that of the Eels, I cannot go past a Newcastle victory by 8.

  1. Who will take the two competition points on Saturday, the Eels or Knights?

    1. Parramatta Eels
    2. Newcastle Knights
    20 votes
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Kieran Gibson

A Rugby League die hard, and supporter of 17 North Queensland Cowboys players, means I rarely have the time to support others. Jokes aside, I have been following League since 2004, and love to indulge in and analyse the National Rugby League Competition.

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