Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
31 hours ago
The call-up of Darren Treacy, who quit rugby league two years ago, shows the depths Parramatta have gone to shore up a losing side decimated by injury for their match against the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland tonight.
They arrived in Auckland from Sydney today without captain Nathan Cayless, Australian forwards Nathan Hindmarsh and Michael Vella, New South Walkes State of Origin backs Adam Dykes and Paul Green, and fullback Brett Hodgson.
Last year the two teams met once, for a 26-10 win to the Warriors in Auckland.
In 2001 it was the Eels who ended the Warriors' finals hopes, crushing them 56-12 in the club's first-ever finals game.
But since then the Warriors have won 24 from 35 games; the Eels have lost 20 and drawn two from 35.
Eight of Parramatta's last nine away games have been defeats.
There should be no excuses for the Warriors tonight as they seek to end a two-match losing streak.
They have the opportunity to press their advantage in the pack, in the halves and at fullback.
Despite being backed by pre-match favouritism, the Warriors need to show intelligence, as coach Daniel Anderson acknowledged last night.
"We have to be at the right end of the field before Stacey Jones, P J Marsh, Motu Tony, Brent Webb, Lance Hohaia can come into play," Anderson said to League Correspondent.
He wants an improved attitude from his props who had levelled off after good early-season starts.
"The difference between our starters (Jerry Seuseu and Mark Tookey) and the rest has closed. I want more mongrel from them."
Anderson is not looking too much at the Eels, rather at turning around his team's run of two losses, and three ordinary performances.
"We don't want to go into the bye next week on the back of a loss. And we really don't want to go in after playing badly.
"If we play well and get the two points, then two from the bye, our season is on track."
Training this week has been sharp and that has given Anderson confidence.
So has the work of Jones, who has been kicking freely during skills sessions, although the goalkicking duties will likely go to either Marsh or Webb.
Anderson did not feel his knowledge of the Eels had helped his planning, although he has previously worked with several current Parramatta players.
Styles and other personnel had changed. But he did know enough to be wary.
"Their individuals remain dangerous, regardless how the team have been doing."
New Zealand Warriors: Brent Webb, Henry Fa'afili, Vinnie Anderson, Clinton Toopi, Francis Meli, Lance Hohaia, Stacey Jones (captain), Jerry Seuseu, P J Marsh, Mark Tookey, Logan Swann, Awen Guttenbeil, Wairangi Koopu.
Interchange: Motu Tony, Evarn Tuimavave, Iafeta Palea'aesina, Sione Faumuina.
Parramatta Eels (likely): Brett Hodgson, Pat Richards, Jamie Lyon, David Vaealiki, Jason Moodie, Daniel Wagon, Adam Dykes, Michael Vella or Daniel Heckenberg, John Morris, Alex Chan, Dean Widders, David Solomona, Steve Crouch.
Interchange: Lee Hopkins, Shayne Dunley, Kyle Leuluai, Michael Witt.