Parramatta impressed in a comfortable win over Gold Coast last week, while St George Illawarra were disappointing in their defeat against the Warriors.

Both sides have plenty to play for, with the Eels desperately trying to avoid the wooden spoon and the Dragons looking to cement a spot inside the top four with the finals looming.

Key match-up: Gareth Widdop v Mitchell Moses. The Dragons pivot has arguably been his team's best player all year, while Moses produced one of his better 80-minute performances at ANZ Stadium against the Titans last start. Both players are fiercely competitive, and will be keen to outpoint their opposing five-eighth. 

For the Eels to win: Nathan Brown has been a standout after successfully making the transition from prop to lock in recent seasons. He played 80 minutes against the Titans, with his bruising runs up the middle a highlight. His duel versus NSW lock Jack de Belin is worth the price the admission alone.

For the Dragons to win: Hooker Cameron McInnes needs to rediscover the form which had him in the frame for NSW Origin selection a few months ago. The Botany Rams junior could run riot when running at fatigued defenders.

Match: Eels v Dragons

Round 22 -

Full Time
Eels

Home Team

Eels

Scored 40 points
Dragons

Away Team

Dragons

Scored 4 points

Venue: ANZ Stadium

Match broadcasters:

  • Fox League
  • Nine Network
  • LIVE PASS

Eels Stat Attack: Clint Gutherson has been one of his team's shining lights in what has been a testing campaign to date. He has made the fullback spot his own, scoring four tries. He also has five try assists to his name and 159 tackles.

Dragons Stat Attack: Widdop has been a point-scoring machine, amassing 191 so far this season. His goal-kicking accuracy is equally impressive, with a competition-high 87% in 2018. Fullback Matt Dufty has caught the eye with 15 line breaks.

And another thing: The teams met back in late June, with the Dragons coming from behind to win 20-18 in Wollongong. Eels players were shattered after the round 16 defeat and will look to square the ledger this weekend. 

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Eels is number 1 Corey Norman
    Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Matthew Dufty
  • Winger for Eels is number 2 Jarryd Hayne
    Winger for Dragons is number 2 Jordan Pereira
  • Centre for Eels is number 3 Michael Jennings
    Centre for Dragons is number 3 Euan Aitken
  • Centre for Eels is number 4 Clinton Gutherson
    Centre for Dragons is number 4 Timoteo Lafai
  • Winger for Eels is number 5 George Jennings
    Winger for Dragons is number 19 Nene Macdonald
  • Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Jaeman Salmon
    Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Gareth Widdop
  • Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
    Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt

Forwards

  • Prop for Eels is number 8 Siosaia Vave
    Prop for Dragons is number 8 James Graham
  • Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
    Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Cameron McInnes
  • Prop for Eels is number 15 Kane Evans
    Prop for Dragons is number 11 Tyson Frizell
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Marata Niukore
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 17 Luciano Leilua
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Tepai Moeroa
    2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tariq Sims
  • Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
    Lock for Dragons is number 13 Jack de Belin

Interchange

  • Interchange for Eels is number 14 Will Smith
    Interchange for Dragons is number 10 Leeson Ah Mau
  • Interchange for Eels is number 16 Peni Terepo
    Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Jeremy Latimore
  • Interchange for Eels is number 17 Brad Takairangi
    Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Kurt Mann
  • Interchange for Eels is number 19 David Gower
    Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Blake Lawrie

Eels: In a late change to the starting side, Kane Evans (No.15) will start at prop, with David Gower dropping back to the bench. Bevan French and Oregon Kaufusi were the two players dropped from the squad an hour before game time. Despite a rare win last week, Eels coach Brad Arthur has implemented a major reshuffle. Rookie Jaeman Salmon starts at five-eighth with Corey Norman taking over at fullback, moving Clint Gutherson to centre, Jarryd Hayne to wing and Bevan French out with Will Smith returning on the bench. Tim Mannah was replaced on Friday by David Gower. Ray Stone was also cut 24 hours before kick-off.

Dragons: In a pair of late changes, Leeson Ah Mau moves back to the bench, with Luciano Leilua to start in the back row. Tyson Frizell moves from second row to prop. Jason Nightingale is out, replaced on the wing by Nene Macdonald. Blake Lawrie has been called up to the bench. After Nightingale and Hame Sele waere cut 24 hours out from kick-off, Jacob Host and Zac Lomax were left out an hour before game time.

Head-to-head: Played 34; Eels 17 wins, Dragons 15 wins, 2 draws
Previous result: Dragons won 20-18 at WIN Stadium in round 16
Points per game: Eels 15.7; Dragons 23.6
Points conceded per game: Eels 21.9; Dragons 18.5
Televised: Live on Fox League

Petero Civoniceva's prediction: It's D-day for the Dragons. There's no doubt their form has slipped and their confidence must be down. The question is whether the Eels have enough clout to take advantage of that. Jarryd Hayne has his mojo back and he'll test the Dragons defence but it's time for the Red V to draw a line in the sand and produce the sort of form that wins semi-finals.

Tip: Dragons by 8