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Eels centre Michael Jennings.

Eels coach Brad Arthur believes the desperate Dragons' lowly ladder position belies their class and anticipates them to fire in Sunday's clash at Jubilee Stadium.

While Parramatta can still reach the top four, 14th-placed St George Illawarra are merely a mathematical chance to make the eight and need to win all six remaining games, plus rely on other results.

But Arthur refuses to overlook the Dragons' quality after they almost trumped premiership heavyweights South Sydney last weekend.

"I know they haven't won as many games as they would have liked to but they're still a very good football team. They're still chock-full of a lot of representative players," Arthur said.

"They were all but winners last week. They're a good football team with a lot of good players and I'm sure at home they'll put in a real strong performance."

Arthur said Parramatta trained with energy during their captain's run on Saturday and must bring that enthusiasm to Kogarah.

He highlighted St George Illawarra fullback Corey Norman as a threat, with the playmaker to come up against his former team.

Dragons v Eels - Round 20

Norman played five-eighth in the Dragons' 32-18 loss to the Eels in round seven and was strong until he suffered a cheekbone fracture in the second half.

"He's a quality player. With Normy, we've got to be on our game because he's got a real good skillset. You can try to go after him with your defence but he's got a real nice pass," Arthur said.

"We've got to make sure we present a real straight [defensive] line on him … He's confident about everything and high balls aren't going to worry him."

The Eels sit sixth having won four from their past five matches and Arthur is pleased with his team's steady improvement.

Dragons effort won't fade

"We're getting better in terms of longer periods and being able to turn away those [tough] periods," he said.

"The two losses that we've had in the last seven or eight games, the performance hasn't been that bad. It's just been a 10 or 15-minute period where we've been really bad and conceded too many points.

"... As soon as we can put in back-to-back performances of 80 minutes then we'll be finals worthy."

Eels winger Blake Ferguson remains sidelined after an allergic reaction to antibiotics used to treat a knee infection and the club is unsure when he'll return, though Arthur confirmed it will be before the finals.

"[Ferguson] will come back in [to training] on Monday or Tuesday and get moving again. He's been [getting] better," Arthur said.

Veteran centre Michael Jennings will face the Dragons after recovering from a knee injury.

RCG would be a massive loss: Cleary

Arthur said the premiership winner and ex-NSW Origin player has a calming influence on those around him.

"His experience, especially in the big games, is important for us. I think when he was there he was very good for [rookie five-eighth] Dylan [Brown] and very good for Maika [Sivo] on the wing," Arthur said.

Arthur was loath to discuss the possibility of signing Penrith's Reagan Campbell-Gillard, with the former Australian prop linked to the club despite being contracted to the Panthers until 2024.

"You'll have to talk to the club about that. We don't discuss our recruitment plans," Arthur said.

Pressed on whether he would like Campbell-Gillard at Parramatta, Arthur simply offered: "He's a good player."


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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