Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Saturday rounds off with an important contest between a pair of teams consistent in their inconsistency this season - Parramatta and Brisbane do battle at the brand new Bankwest Stadium.
The Eels have aimed for stability but their results have oscillated wildly but they remain in eighth position. Despite being caged by the Sharks down in the Shire, can it be home sweet home back in the golden west against a fellow struggler in Brisbane?
The home side have locked up Mitchell Moses alongside the signature of Clint Gutherson. Now, they need both their star men to show the electrifying form that saw them pile on 83 points in their first two games at their new digs.
In 2019, the competition ladder is so compact that contests like this one on Saturday night between mid-table sides are important. Brisbane - much like Parramatta - have shown bright moments, but have had too many stumbles akin to last weekend's derby defeat against Gold Coast. This patchy form has them in ninth at the halfway mark of the competition.
For the visitors, back-to-back victories had things looking better but the Titans loss - plus frustrating injuries - have brought them crashing back to earth. Pressure continues to build on coach Anthony Seibold and the experienced members of the squad - particularly as youth seems to have carried them thus far. Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd in particular could help them get back on track, and ultimately jump above the Eels to finish the round inside the top eight.
Last meeting: Round 12 2018 - Broncos 18 Eels 10
Who to watch: Much has been made about the Eels attack but the talisman of their work is the uncompromising lock forward Nathan Brown. Brown makes fantastic metres through the middle, has a late offload to spark their backline and against the Broncos pack, they need that second phase to overcome the Broncos and turn Bankwest back into a fortress. He'll be better for having a run in his legs in last weekend's loss to Cronulla and should be fighting fit on Saturday night.
At times the Broncos attack has looked stunted, much of their effectiveness comes through young hooker Jake Turpin. He played an almost lone hand against the Titans, and with Sean O'Sullivan coming into the halves the service and choices need to be crisp to get the Broncos rolling and scoring points under the Friday night lights. How Seibold manages the rotation with Brisbane's regular hooker Andrew McCullough will continue to be of interest.
The favourite: Home ground advantage hands the Eels narrow favouritism.
My tip: Two inconsistent sides coming off losses but the Eels have marginally looked better when playing at Bankwest, so they take this one. Eels by 4.
1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Josh Hoffman 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Jaeman Salmon 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Kane Evans 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Manu Ma'u 13. Nathan Brown 14. Ray Stone 15. Peni Terepo 16. David Gower 17. Marata Niukore
1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Gehamat Shibasaki 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. Anthony Milford 7. Sean O'Sullivan 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. David Fifita 12. Matt Gillett 13. Tevita Pangai 14. Andrew McCullough 15. Jaydn Su'A 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Patty Carrigan
Referees: Henry Perenara, Liam Kennedy; Sideline Officials: Clayton Sharpe, Mark Bohan; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy, Ben Lowe;