NRL Rd 10 - Roosters v Eels
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 15: Isaiah Papali'i of the Eels celebrates scoring a try during the round 10 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium, on May 15, 2022, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

While a big song and dance has been made over the Melbourne Storm's departures, Round 1 rivals Parramatta are set to be even more undermanned for their opening round clash.

A lot has been said over the off-season regarding the Parramatta Eels and their premiership window, with many pundits tipping a fall out of the top four after losing an immense bundle of talent to rival sides.

MORE: Get your Parramatta Eels 2023 Season Guide NOW!

Reed Mahoney, Isaiah Papali'i, Marata Niukore and Oregon Kaufusi have all moved on from the club, causing a reshuffle in their forward pack, and introducing a whole stack of new recruits.

However, the exodus is only the start of head coach Brad Arthur's worries for their season opener against the Melbourne Storm, with 11 of Parramatta's grand final 18-man squad unavailable for the clash.

Shaun Lane fractured his jaw in the trials and remains on the sidelines for the opening month of the season while Bryce Cartwright suffered a similar incident at training, and bench forward Nathan Brown sustaining a hamstring injury in January.

Neither Maika Sivo or Waqa Blake have played in a trial match after suffering knee issues and a broken arm respectively, while Bailey Simonsson, who played left centre in the decider, is battling a shoulder injury.

Lastly, one-time New South Wales forward Ryan Matterson infamously opted to accept a three-game ban instead of copping a $4,000 fine, and will sit out until Round 4.

Add in problems with depth players Sean Russell, who's suspended over a NSW Cup incident last season, and Matt Doorey, who is expected to line up despite an ankle injury suffered in their second trial.

The last seven men standing are captain Clint Gutherson, halves Dylan Brown and Mitchell Moses, props Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Junior Paulo, young centre Will Penisini and utility Jakob Arthur.

They'll welcome in a host of fringe first-graders to fill the void, with Josh Hodgson the only real star recruited, though even he is turning 34 this season and coming off an ACL injury.

NRL Pre-Season - Knights v Eels
GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 17: Josh Hodgson of the Eels passes during the NRL Trial Match between the Newcastle Knights and the Parramatta Eels at Central Coast Stadium on February 17, 2023 in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

It puts an interesting dynamic in the clash against Melbourne, who are without almost an entire backline due to injury, while forwards Brandon Smith, Kenneath Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi and Jesse Bromwich have all departed.

The two sides will meet at CommBank Stadium on Thursday night to kickstart the 2023 NRL season.

PREDICTED PARRAMATTA TEAM LIST

  1. Clint Gutherson (c)
  2. Make Sivo*
  3. Zac Cini^
  4. Will Penisini
  5. Waqa Blake*
  6. Dylan Brown
  7. Mitchell Moses
  8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
  9. Josh Hodgson
  10. Junior Paulo
  11. Jack Murchie
  12. Matt Doorey
  13. J'maine Hopgood
  14. Jakob Arthur
  15. Jirah Momoisea
  16. Ofahiki Ogden
  17. Makahesi Makatoa
    * under injury cloud
      • ^ outside top 30, requires

    NRLclearance