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Surely it’s only a matter of time before Parramatta get on the board for 2018 – and Sunday’s clash against traditional rivals Manly represents a fantastic opportunity to do just that.
The Sea Eagles are a club in turmoil at the moment. First came the salary cap drama, followed by the week-long controversy surrounding Jackson Hastings and Daly Cherry-Evans, with reports surfacing on Friday that Cherry-Evans might have been the man to have instigated a brawl that allegedly occurred a couple of weeks ago.
Add in the fact Manly were thrashed 38-12 on their own turf by the Tigers last week, and it’s safe to say the club are struggling both on and off the field at the moment.
But are the Eels good enough to take advantage?
Without their best forward in Nathan Brown, it will be tough, but I’m backing them to grind out a tough win and finally open their account for the season.
Parramatta have endured a nightmare 0-6 start to the year, but they’ve been in their last few matches, falling 14-4 to the Sharks, 30-20 to the Tigers, 12-6 to the Panthers and 18-2 to the Raiders.
It’s taking time, but the Eels are gradually getting there, and with Manly a complete basket case at the moment, this is a chance they simply must be take.
Clint Gutherson will be better for the run after returning from an ACL injury last week, and if he can strike up some combinations with Corey Norman and Mitch Moses, the Eels have plenty of points in them.
Parramatta won the last six meetings between the sides before their Round 2 hammering when Manly ran out massive 54-0 winners. That scoreline won’t happen again, and I’m tipping the Eels to put in a tough display and emerge victorious for the first time in 2018.
Parramatta Eels: 1 Clint Gutherson, 2 Jarryd Hayne, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 George Jennings, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Kane Evans, 9 Cameron King, 10 Tim Mannah (c), 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Tony Williams, 13 Peni Terepo
Interchange: 14 Will Smith, 15 Kenny Edwards, 16 David Gower, 17 Daniel Alvaro Reserves: 18 Beau Scott, 19 Josh Hoffman, 20 Suaia Matagi, 21 Marata Niukore
Manly Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Brad Parker, 3 Dylan Walker, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Akuila Uate, 6 Lachlan Croker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Jack Gosiewski, 13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 14 Matthew Wright, 15 Shaun Lane, 16 Lloyd Perrett, 17 Taniela Paseka Reserves: 18 Jonathan Wright, 19 Lewis Brown, 20 Frank Winterstein, 21 Toafofoa Sipley