Eels v Wests Tigers: Schick Preview

Schick Hydro Preview: Parramatta Eels v Wests Tigers
ANZ Stadium
Monday, 4pm

The traditional all-western Sydney Easter Monday clash is back and finds both the Eels and Wests Tigers struggling in the bottom four of the ladder after six rounds.

Parramatta's season has nose-dived since their brilliant 2-0 start to the year with four straight losses since while the Tigers arrested their own four-match losing streak last week with a morale-boosting win in Townsville.

The Eels certainly missed the spark of Bevan French last week against the Warriors, not least because it meant Clint Gutherson shifted out of the halves with Brad Takairangi used at five-eighth. With French still out Brad Arthur has stuck with that combination for this week but the return of back-rower Tepai Moeroa from injury is timely given the loss of Frank Pritchard.

New Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary started his career at Concord with an impressive win and has stuck solid with the 17 that got the job done last week.

Why Eels can win: It's hard to put your finger on what's happened to the Eels since their powerful Round 2 win over now-ladder leaders the Dragons. But the return of Moeroa with the dynamic Nathan Brown starting at lock and impact man Siosaia Vave on the bench gives the pack a well-rounded look against what has been one of the less dominant packs of the competition so far this year. If they can reassert themselves – and the team as a whole can be a bit more measured and a bit less frantic and reckless in their attacking sets – then Corey Norman has the skill and poise to create plenty of points.

Why Wests Tigers can win: To say there will be plenty of focus on star five-eighth Mitch Moses coming up against his future club would be an understatement. Moses brushed off the unrest around his immediate playing future to star for the Tigers against the Cowboys last week and how he handles coming up against a team he will be playing for theoretically as soon as this month will be fascinating. No doubt he will want to put in a compelling audition – not to mention earn a win for his current clubmates – by putting in an even better performance than last week. 

 


The history: Eels v Wests Tigers: Played 33; Eels 18; Wests Tigers 14; Drawn 1. The last six meetings are split three apiece. Parramatta won last year's Easter Monday clash but the Tigers won the three before that.

What are the odds: Sportsbet customers are torn here. Three times as much money has been spent on a Parramatta win compared to a Tigers win, but Wests Tigers 1-12 is the most popular winning margin. The money is split almost 50/50 in handicap betting, where Wests Tigers are receiving the points start. Latest odds at Sportsbet.com.au.

Match officials: Referee: Ben Cummins; Assistant Referee: David Munro; Touch judges: Brett Suttor and Kasey Badger; Review Official: Luke Patten; Senior RO: Ashley Klein.

Televised: Fox Sports – Live from 3pm. 

NRL.com predicts: On paper you'd tip the Eels but on last week's form you'd have to tip the Tigers. Neither means much once that whistle blows for kick-off but given the recent disruptions to the Eels' playmaking combinations and their struggles to score points of late we'll back the Tigers to make it two straight with an eight-point win.