If Parramatta weren’t considered a premiership chance before, they sure are now after pushing Melbourne right down to the wire last weekend. Their quest for premiership glory continues this weekend in what’s sure to be boisterous crowd against a Cowboys side who toppled the reigning premiers in extra time.
Jason Taumalolo was simply incredible last week, running for 259 metres from 22 runs, making 37 tackles and scoring a try. While a similar performance is almost unfathomable, he, along with the rest of the forwards, will need to bring their ‘A’ game this weekend as Parramatta’s pack is no joke. Nathan Brown, Tepai Moeroa, Kenny Edwards and co are in sublime form and continued that last weekend with their line speed and wall-like defence stunning the Storm in the opening half.
The Cowboys have typically been slow starters in 2017 and cannot afford that trend to continue this week. Parramatta loves playing in front and with the game on their terms and have one of the best halves combinations in the game to control the tempo to a tee.
Mitchell Moses is in career best form and that is complimented well by the form of the outside players in the blue and gold. Will Smith has been terrific at fullback in Bevan French’s absence and will be tested once again this week by Michael Morgan who is having a career-best season.
His field goal last week was the difference between his side being on holiday or not this Saturday night while the possible return of Justin O’Neill will only give the Cowboys some added confidence to earn a preliminary final berth.
As it stands, both sides will head into the clash unchanged.
Back to back weeks of travel may hurt the Cowboys but being the underdog won’t change much from what they’ve experienced for most of 2017. They’ll take it right up to the Eels but we think that Parramatta’s form is too good to ignore.
Eels by 8.
|Te Maire Martin||6|