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A few cracks have appeared in the Eels lately - a narrow win over Cronulla was followed by last week's upset loss to the Dragons - and they won't get a tougher test than the Storm.

Signs of complacency surfaced in both those games, almost as though they were waiting for the opposition to fold.

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur will be crossing his fingers Blake Ferguson breaks out of his season-long try-scoring slump, while Mitch Moses and Dylan Brown have to bring their best.

Melbourne cut the Roosters to shreds last week, silencing the doubters who said they can't win without superstars Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster.

Coach Craig Bellamy will have his team primed for more of the same on Thursday night.

The Rundown

Team news

Eels: Parramatta will line up 1-17 with an unchanged side from the one which suffered a shock loss to the Dragons last week. The Storm have outscored the Eels 96-10 in their past two clashes.

Will Smith and Brad Takairangi were omitted from the extended squad 24 hours before kick-off.

Andrew Davey and Haze Dunster were the final cuts an hour before game time.

Storm signals: Eels unfazed by horror record

Storm: With prop Jesse Bromwich suspended, Nelson Asofa-Solomona comes into the starting side and Darryn Schonig is promoted to the bench.

Jahrome Hughes was ruled out on Wednesday with a groin injury and his place is taken by Cooper Johns, who will make his NRL debut.

Sandor Earl replaces Suliasi Vunivalu (broken jaw) on the wing and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui starts at lock for Dale Finucane (calf), with Albert Vete joining the bench.

Marion Seve and Chris Lewis were the last two players cut an hour before kick-off.

Winger Josh Addo-Carr has scored five tries in his past four games against the Eels.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
    Fullback for Storm is number 1 Ryan Papenhuyzen
  • Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
    Winger for Storm is number 2 Sandor Earl
  • Centre for Eels is number 3 Michael Jennings
    Centre for Storm is number 3 Brenko Lee
  • Centre for Eels is number 4 Waqa Blake
    Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin Olam
  • Winger for Eels is number 5 Blake Ferguson
    Winger for Storm is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
  • Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
    Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Ryley Jacks
  • Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
    Halfback for Storm is number 20 Cooper Johns


  • Prop for Eels is number 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
    Prop for Storm is number 10 Christian Welch
  • Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
    Hooker for Storm is number 9 Brandon Smith
  • Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
    Prop for Storm is number 17 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
    2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Felise Kaufusi
  • 2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Ryan Matterson
    2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich
  • Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
    Lock for Storm is number 13 Tino Fa'asuamaleaui


  • Interchange for Eels is number 14 Ray Stone
    Interchange for Storm is number 14 Nicholas Hynes
  • Interchange for Eels is number 15 Marata Niukore
    Interchange for Storm is number 15 Tom Eisenhuth
  • Interchange for Eels is number 16 Kane Evans
    Interchange for Storm is number 16 Albert Vete
  • Interchange for Eels is number 17 Oregon Kaufusi
    Interchange for Storm is number 21 Darryn Schonig

Match Officials

  • Referee: Ben Cummins
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

Key match-up

Clint Gutherson v Ryan Papenhuyzen. Gutherson leads Parramatta with his actions and the fullback's hard work was evident last week as he set a new record for the most run metres ever recorded in a match with 369.

His opposite number Papenhuyzen has become an elite custodian in 2020, with his speed and attacking instincts vital parts of the Melbourne machine.

Stat Attack

The Eels are under pressure to prove they have moved on from last year's twin thrashings at the hands of Melbourne. In their only regular-season meeting of 2019, the Storm scored an eye-popping 11 tries in a 64-10 rout of the Eels.

When they squared off four months later in the finals Melbourne had their way again, knocking Parra out of the premiership race with a 32-0 shutout.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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