Parramatta Eels: The run home...

Eels fans simply have to be frustrated with their team. On paper they are capable of so much better than their current position of 13th on the NRL ladder, and that’s why it’s time for the blue and gold army to strap themselves in as Jarryd Hayne, Nathan Hindmarsh and co. get ready to delight them and excite them in the run home.<br><br>Hayne has hit a rare patch of form since Daniel Anderson moved him to fullback and he is playing like a man possessed, which alone gives the Eels hope. Their defence has been pretty strong too and their win over a slightly depleted Storm outfit will give them confidence as they ready themselves for a finals charge. And it's a charge which could have shades of 2006 about it, when they swept all before them on their way to eighth spot.<br><br>Over the last five games they have been in the hunt in all bar one match and, despite winning just two of those games, all the signs are there that the Eels are ready to go on with it - starting with the local derby against the Bulldogs.<br><b><br>The Run home: </b>Bulldogs (A), Sharks (A), Knights (H), Warriors (H), Wests Tigers (A), Panthers (H), Dragons (A)<br><br>It’s a pretty good run home for the Eels, sure they have the Dogs and the Dragons bookending it and they were spanked 22-8 by the Dragons and 48-18 by the Doggies in rounds five and six this year, but they are a different team now.<br><br>If they can win just one of those two games, then the others are all winnable. Since confidence is a key factor with Parramatta, their most important game is this weekend against arch rivals the Bulldogs. A tight win will give Parramatta a massive boost, a thumping may just end their season early.<br><br><b>Players to Watch:<br>Jarryd Hayne </b>– What can’t this man do when Bill Harrigan doesn’t stop him? Scores impossible tries, makes rugby league look easy... he would have to be the form fullback of the competition. Hayne is the Eels' barometer; when he is bad, so are they. When he is good, the sky’s the limit. <br><br>Lately he has been the latter and has formed good combinations with both his halves as well as his wingers. He’s also a stats machine. Ninth in tries scored with 10, second in the NRL for metres gained behind only Kurt Gidley, yet Hayne has had far fewer carries (sitting in eighth in that stat too) and he is third in the league for tackle busts. Not bad for someone who started the season in ordinary form.<br><br><b>Feleti Mateo</b> – The missing link for the Eels is Mateo and he’s been gone a looooooong time, since round ten in fact. We’re unsure when or if he will be back in 2009, but if he can make it back he will have an impact. His strong running and ability to offload the footy are too much for most teams to handle and if he is selective with those offloads it is when the Eels look their most dangerous.<br><br>Eels' fans should be sending out an SOS to Mateo. Save our season they ask, Feleti might say yes.<br><br><b>Predicted finish:</b> 9th