Eels v Titans: George Jennings back; Matthews in for Hipgrave
Parramatta are desperately trying to avoid the wooden spoon, while the Gold Coast will be brimming with confidence after their impressive last-start 36-12 win over the Warriors.
Few anticipated the landslide, but five-star performances from young guns AJ Brimson and Phillip Sami engineered a commanding victory at Cbus Super Stadium.
Match: Eels v Titans
Round 21 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Key match-up: Nathan Brown v Jai Arrow. Both locks pride themselves on their work rate and enforcer factor. Whoever dominates from the opening whistle could determine who collects two Telstra Premiership points on offer. Arrow continues to catch the eye, going to another level after impressing for the Maroons in State of Origin.
For the Eels to win: Inject Clint Gutherson into the action at every opportunity. The classy fullback is the ultimate competitor, but much like his struggling teammates appears to have lost his mojo in 2018. If he fires alongside the in-form Jarryd Hayne, the hosts could chalk up their fifth victory of the campaign.
For the Titans to win: Let AJ Brimson show his class. The youngster has lived up to the considerable hype, acting as the perfect foil for Ash Taylor in the halves. Last Sunday he was close to best on ground against the Warriors, and a repeat performance could seal a win on the road for Garth Brennan's men.
Eels Stat Attack: Given they sit in 16th spot, it doesn't come as a major surprise they have made more tackles (6761) than any other team. Prop Daniel Alvaro has been an ironman, chalking up 748 tackles himself.
Titans Stat Attack: A whopping 645 missed tackles is one of the main reasons Gold Coast won't be playing finals football this year. On the flip side, Ash Taylor has the most try assists (17) in the competition.
And another thing: Saturday night will see Hayne take on his former employers from the glitter strip for the first time following his departure last November. Even though both sides out of semi-final contention, expect a fiery 80-minute encounter.
Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton GuthersonFullback for Titans is number 1 Michael Gordon
Winger for Eels is number 2 Bevan FrenchWinger for Titans is number 2 Anthony Don
Centre for Eels is number 3 Michael JenningsCentre for Titans is number 3 Konrad Hurrell
Centre for Eels is number 4 Jarryd HayneCentre for Titans is number 4 Brenko Lee
Winger for Eels is number 5 George JenningsWinger for Titans is number 5 Phillip Sami
Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Corey NormanFive-Eighth for Titans is number 6 Alexander Brimson
Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell MosesHalfback for Titans is number 7 Ashley Taylor
Prop for Eels is number 8 Siosaia VaveProp for Titans is number 8 Jarrod Wallace
Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed MahoneyHooker for Titans is number 9 Nathan Peats
Prop for Eels is number 10 Tim MannahProp for Titans is number 10 Ryan James
2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Marata Niukore2nd Row for Titans is number 11 Kevin Proctor
2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Tepai Moeroa2nd Row for Titans is number 17 Will Matthews
Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan BrownLock for Titans is number 13 Jai Arrow
Interchange for Eels is number 14 Jaeman SalmonInterchange for Titans is number 14 Mitch Rein
Interchange for Eels is number 15 Kane EvansInterchange for Titans is number 15 Moeaki Fotuaika
Interchange for Eels is number 16 Peni TerepoInterchange for Titans is number 16 Jack Stockwell
Interchange for Eels is number 17 Brad TakairangiInterchange for Titans is number 20 Jai Whitbread
Eels: The Eels are 1-17. Winger George Jennings (groin strain) returns, allowing Jarryd Hayne to shift back to centre and Brad Takairangi to the bench. Reed Mahoney starts at hooker for Kaysa Pritchard (shoulder) with Jaeman Salmon to make his debut as the bench utility. Tim Mannah starts at prop with Daniel Alvaro (knee) out. Kane Evans has been recalled on the bench. David Gower and Will Smith dropped out an hour before kick-off.
Titans: Gold Coast coach Garth Brennan has made a late change, with Will Matthews into the starting side for Keegan Hipgrave. Jai Whitbread is the new face on the bench. Leilani Latu was cut an hour prior to kick-off.
Head-to-head: Played 17; Titans 11 wins, Eels 6 wins
Previous result: Eels won 30-8 at ANZ Stadium in round 24, 2017
Points per game: Eels 15.1; Titans 19.4
Points conceded per game: Eels 22.4; Titans 24.4
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League
Petero Civoniceva's prediction: This is a tough one to pick. The Titans will have some confidence after a good win and an extra spring in their step this week. They've certainly got some players that can do some damage. The Eels were good for a large part of that game against the Rabbitohs and even though they lost their way a bit over the final 20 minutes or so, I'm going with them to win this one on the home ground factor. They have some individuals who should be able to get them home.
Tip: Eels by 4