New Zealand Warriors Vs Parramatta Eels
9 April 2017, 2pm
My Smart Stadium

New Zealand Warriors 2-0-3, 13th

With the introduction of K. Foran, the other Stars of the Warriors spine seemed to click. S. Johnson looked like returning to his prime form, with the calming influence of Foran and his ability to take responsibility off him. I. Luke also finally remembered he’s best playing direct and sniping from dummy half (119m, at least 60m more than previous weeks), dragging the other forwards with him. Lillyman (169m) Lisone (147m), Hoffman (112m) and Gavet (105m) seemed to benefit the most with Luke sniping more.
Mind you, they only just won against a depleted Titans outfit by 6 points. This is a worry, as they come up against a team this week that can score points but have lost their way. Their defence will be tested by players with exceptional speed, which could be a worry.
For us, R.Tuivasa-Sheck positional and run return game is going to determine the outcome of this game. If he can poke his nose through the line on kick returns and bust tackles when under pressure, this will allow Johnson and Foran space and time to put on some plays and get their attacking ticking.

Parramatta Eels 2-0-3, 12th

After a blistering start, the Eels have slumped to their 3rd straight loss going down to the Raiders 30-18. They were traveling well, but the Raiders scored 3 tries in 8 blistering minutes. They fought back, but a solo try to teenage sensation Cotric, sealed the Raiders victory. The Eels can trouble the top teams IF they can get their attack in order, but like Warriors defensive sets seem to keep letting teams get back into games. For the Eels to win tomorrow, we would think they need to hold the Warriors to under 16 points, which they have not managed to do in their last 5 games.
For us, S. Radradra needs to be more involved. He does on average have around 16 runs a game, but in this contest we want to see those figures around 21+. This would mean he clears the 220m mark and then some. He is a devastating ball runner that has gone missing, if he steps up and bags a try or two, the Eels will be hard to stop.

Team news: (Final team lists released an hour before the game)

New Zealand Warriors
It seems the confidence is high with Foran’s medical issues as A. Hingano is bumped off the team and replaced by N. Roach. And C. Gubb gets the nod to start over J. Gavet.

Parramatta Eels
B. Scott is strengthening the Eels forward pack by starting, putting N. Brown back to the bench. The Eels also welcome back another big body in T. Moeroa, but in bad news for League fans excitement machine B. French is out, replaced by Ex GCT scoring machine, J. Hoffman. K. Auva’a slots into the centre position in further changes to the back line.

Their last 5 game report card: NZ has won 3 games, 2 at Mt Smart, Eels have won twice, once at Mt Smart Stadium
2016 – Round 26 – Eels won by 22 points at Mt Smart Stadium
2015 – Round 10 – NZ won by 4 points at Pirtek stadium
2015 – Round 3 – NZ won by 13 at Mt Smart stadium
2014 – Round 18 – NZ won by 48 at Mt Smart stadium
2014 – Round 1 – Eels won by 20 at Pirtek stadium

What we take from this?
Both teams defensively are well below the top teams to date. It will be the team that handles this pressure the best, that will get the two competition points. NZ attacking power looked like it turned a corner last week and with B. French out that hurts the Eels in attack. With the other change to the Eels back line, we believe the Warriors can exploit this and take the win as defensively the Eels structures still won’t be crisp.

For Us NZ win either in a close game or blow the Eels away.

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