The Eels faced a moment of truth last week against Melbourne and failed to prove they are worthy top-four contenders.
This week they take on a team below them on the ladder and it'll be interesting to see how they perform after such a sobering lesson from the Storm.
The Cowboys showed improvement in Magic Round against the Rabbitohs but looked as though they showed up almost expecting to lose and took 30 minutes to get into the game.
They fought back gamely but the damage had been done. Paul Green will be calling for a much better start on Saturday.
Match: Cowboys v Eels
Round 10 -
Venue: 1300SMILES Stadium, Townsville
Cowboys: North Queensland are 1-17, with Corey Jensen and Jake Clifford dropping off the reserves an hour before kick-off. The only change to the side which put in a brave showing against the Rabbitohs last weekend is Jake Granville being named to start at hooker with Kurt Baptiste on the bench. Paul Green named Granville to start last week and then swapped him with Baptiste an hour before kick-off so he may yet opt to do the same again. Gideon Gela-Mosby and Shane Wright were omitted 24 hours before kick-off.
Eels: Parramatta are 1-17, with Kane Evans and Jaeman Salmon dropping off the reserves list. Plenty of player movement at Parra, with George Jennings on the wing for the suspended Maika Sivo. Josh Hoffman has been called up to play centre, while Will Smith has been named as the starting five-eighth after Jaeman Salmon was dropped to the reserves. Manu Ma'u will start at lock, with Tepai Moeroa dropped to the bench. Reed Mahoney is the starting hooker and Peni Terepo is back on the bench. Matt McIlwrick and Bevan French were the two players omitted from the extended bench on Friday night.
Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Jordan KahuFullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle FeldtWinger for Eels is number 2 George Jennings
Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Justin O'NeillCentre for Eels is number 3 Josh Hoffman
Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Tom OpacicCentre for Eels is number 4 Brad Takairangi
Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Ben HamptonWinger for Eels is number 5 Blake Ferguson
Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 John AsiataFive-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Will Smith
Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Michael MorganHalfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Matthew ScottProp for Eels is number 8 Daniel Alvaro
Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Jake GranvilleHooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLeanProp for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Gavin Cooper2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Coen Hess2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Marata Niukore
Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason TaumaloloLock for Eels is number 13 Manu Ma'u
Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Kurt BaptisteInterchange for Eels is number 14 Peni Terepo
Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Mitchell DunnInterchange for Eels is number 15 Tim Mannah
Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Scott BoltonInterchange for Eels is number 16 Tepai Moeroa
Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Francis MoloInterchange for Eels is number 17 Oregon Kaufusi
- Referee: Chris Sutton
- Referee: Phil Henderson
- Touch Judge: Clayton Sharpe
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Video Referee: Bryan Norrie
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
Mitch Moses would've had grand plans to inspire the Eels to victory over Melbourne last week. His vision was turned upside down in a 64-10 shellacking and Moses and will be extra keen to make amends this week in his showdown with Michael Morgan.
For the Cowboys to win
They need to pick up where they left off against the Rabbitohs in terms of effort and belief to ensure they aren't playing catch-up all night. Green will be imploring his players to come out aggressively and get away to a positive start. Jason Taumalolo and the rest of the Cowboys forwards have to get over the top of Parra's pack.
For the Eels to win
First and foremost they have to mentally shake off last week's nightmare and remain positive. They need to address some defensive issues that were exposed by the Storm or risk being embarrassed again by the likes of Morgan and Taumalolo. The Cowboys will be desperate and the Eels have to match that urgency.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Cowboys are getting some form back. They've got a great forward pack and have to settle on a new halves combination, but I saw some good signs from them last week. They don't make many bad defensive decisions and will get into that arm wrestle and try to win games by being composed. Parramatta's hot start to the season has cooled down pretty quickly. I thought they were very soft last week, as their coach described them, and when you get labelled soft you tend to bounce back with some individual pride. I'm looking for that from Parramatta in round 10 and I'm tipping the Eels to bounce back in an upset. Eels by 2.
Clint Gutherson leads the NRL in linebreak assists (9) and run metres (1,638), while Brad Takairangi is third in offloads (22) and Mitch Moses is fourth in try assists (8). Michael Morgan has nailed three 40/20 kicks in 2019 - tops in the league.
And another thing ...
Parra fans with long memories haven't forgotten what happened in the 2005 finals. After winning the minor premiership and brushing aside Manly 46-22 in week one of the play-offs, the Eels suffered a shock 29-0 drubbing at the hands of the Cowboys in the preliminary final. The Cowboys finished fifth that season and would lose the following week's grand final 30-16 to the Wests Tigers, who had finished fourth on the ladder.