Parramatta v Wests Tigers preview

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Parramatta Eels v Wests Tigers Sunday 4:05pm at Bankwest Stadium

The resurgent Tigers head across town to face the top four Parramatta Eels in a crucial clash at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday afternoon. 

Parramatta's huge result against the Knights was a much-needed tonic after being humbled by the Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs in back-to-back weeks. The Eels are back inside the top four and ready to launch their attempt at that elusive Premiership. 

One accusation that has been levelled against the Eels is being unable to match the top two when they get to towards the pointy end of the season. That falls on the shoulders of their spine players Clint Gutherson and Mitchell Moses which is compounded by the absence of hooker Reed Mahoney - a critical part of their gameplan. 

In a much-vaunted forward pack, off-season signing Isaiah Papali'I has been a standout for his new club and turned into a try-scoring weapon. The former Warrior alongside representative forwards Regan Campbell-Gillard and Junior Paulo can lay the platform for the Eels backline to sizzle in the winter sun and complete the double on their western rivals. 

It was a rocky start to the season for Wests Tigers but now, the joint venture notched up back-to-back victories for the first time this year against Dragons and Panthers. Now they head to Bankwest for a vibe check against an Eels team which beat them by 14 on the Easter long weekend. 

It is another long weekend clash but the Tigers might have found some consistency after giving their fans weekly heart palpitations. The move of Adam Doueihi to centre has worked wonders and helped them to put 60 points on in their two wins. 

If they are to continue that plenty will fall on the shoulders of mercurial halfback Luke Brooks. He has been at the joint venture since 2013 and has been involved the their fruitless campaigns. Coming up against former teammate Mitchell Moses, Brooks will want to take his side to a top eight berth and it starts with overcoming the Eels. 

Pride comes before the fall, Tigers have seen this story plenty of times before. The joint venture side gets themselves hyped up and within two points of the top eight. The usual end to this story sees them beaten, usually by a wide margin and back into the purgatory they have existed in since 2011. 

Last meeting: Round 4 2021 - Wests Tigers 22 Eels 36

Who to watch: Waqa Blake swapped edges last weekend for the Eels and the veteran looked much more settled in his work against an admittedly poor Knights side. Blake faces a tougher matchup this week and alongside youngster Haze Dunster will need to repeat their effort against a vibrant Tigers side and cement their spot in the Eels backline. 

The Tigers are riding high in recent weeks and one of their big reasons is back rower Luciano Leilua who has been bright in all his runs and bends through the line. Coming up against the Eels forward pack will test Leilua and his forward mates as they try to make it three in a row for the first time this season. 

The favourite: The Eels won the earlier matchup and come into the game off thrashing the Knights and sit third so go into the contest as justified favourites.

My tip: I think the Eels win this one. Parramatta by 8.

1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Tom Opacic 4. Waqa Blake 5. Haze Dunster 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Joey Lussick 10. Junior Paulo 11. Isaiah Papali'i 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown 14. Marata Niukore 15. Shaun Lane 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Bryce Cartwright 18. Will Smith

1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Adam Doueihi 4. Tommy Talau 5. James Roberts 19. Billy Walters 7. Luke Brooks 8. James Tamou 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Alex Twal 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Joe Ofahengaue 14. Stefano Utoikamanu 15. Shawn Blore 16. Tom Amone 17. Alex Seyfarth 18. Michael Chee-Kam

Referees: Grant Atkins; Sideline Officials: David Munro, Peter Gough; Video Referees: Henry Perenara;

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