Round 11: Eels v Warriors preview
Friday night sees two sides looking to bounce back into some form and Friday is the perfect opportunity for both the Eels and Warriors to bounce back and get an all-important win that will help the momentum of the season.
The Parramatta Eels bounced back to form after their poor start to the season with back to back wins over Manly and the Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium before falling to defeats against the Sharks at Shark Park where they nearly stole victory in a come from behind effort and then fell to a heart-breaking late defeat against the Canterbury Bulldogs last Friday night.
The Eels form since getting their first victory in round 7 has looked better than it had through the six weeks prior however their defeat last weekend to the Bulldogs will be a concern given the attack was again looking to struggle to penetrate their opponents try line. The stats from last weeks performance from the Eels set up a picture of dominance for the Eels with possession and field position as well as a better completion rate, however it was their inability to gain traction to their attack once they got into attacking position and it was the Bulldogs decision to take penalty goals when on off that was the difference.
The New Zealand Warriors were and still are the surprise packets of the NRL sitting in third spot but in recent weeks their form as become inconsistent with the Warriors losing three of their past five games including last weekends 32-0 drubbing at home to the Sydney Roosters. The Warriors are again without Shaun Johnson but things could get even worse with replace halfback Mason Lino potentially ruled out of the clash due to an injury suffered in their clash with the Roosters.
The Warriors suffered their first defeat in Round 6 against the Broncos and from that point the Warriors form as been up and down with three losses out of their past five games with including their past losses being by a combined 72 points (50-10 vs Melbourne R8 & 32-0 vs Roosters R10), The Warriors will be looking to a rare visit to ANZ to bounce back to form against the Eels.
Who to watch: Clint Gutherson - The Parramatta Eels fullback has been an important part of the Eels bounce back to form and his elevation to the Eels captaincy has been a big reason for the improved performances of the Eels. Gutherson will be a player to watch this weekend because it was his miskick in trying to put the ball dead last week against the Bulldogs that gave Adam Elliott the opportunity to score the match winning try in the dying minutes last week. Gutherson will be looking for a big performance to stop the talk about being about last week and instead be about this week's performance.
Blake Green - The Warriors five-eighth was tipped for an origin jersey several weeks ago and however since the Warriors form has slid and Origin talk has fallen away. The Warriors five-eighth will need to improve on last weeks effort to help steer his team around the park to an improved performance. Should Mason Lino be ruled out of the game then the weight of the Warriors will be on Green's shoulders and he will need to be at his best if the Warriors are going to win.