7:40 PM (AEST) Saturday, September 16 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney
The second NRL fixture of the weekend in the second week of the Finals series will see Parramatta play hosts to the Cowboys in an elimination final.
Parramatta: Will Smith; Semi Radradra, Michael Jennings, Brad Takairangi, Kirisome Auva’a; Corey Norman, Mitchell Moses; Daniel Alvaro, Cameron King, Tim Mannah, Manu Ma’u, David Gower, Nathan Brown. Suaia Matagi, Beau Scott, Siosaia Vave, Kenny Edwards.
North Queensland: Lachlan Coote; Kyle Feldt, Javid Bowen, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein; Te Maire Martin, Michael Morgan; John Asiata, Jake Granville, Scott Bolton, Gavin Cooper, Ethan Lowe, Jason Taumalolo. Ben Hampton, Coen Hess, Corey Jensen, Shaun Fensom.
There have been 37 games between these two sides, with honours fairly evenly shared. The Eels have won 19 games to the Cowboys 17 victories while 1 game has been drawn. They last met in Round 14 this year where the Cowboys came away with a 32-6 win.
Parramatta started the year in brilliant form. They beat Manly 20-12 in the opening Round before handing the Dragons a 34-16 loss the following week. Then it all fell apart. A 26-14 loss to an injury riddled Titans was compounded by a 20-6 loss to the defending premiers Cronulla. In Round 5 the Raiders put the Eels away in the second half to win 30-18 before their losing streak extended to 4 when they lost 22-10 against the Warriors, who also ran away with the game in the second half. In Round 7 they managed to reel in the Tigers to win 26-22 before beating the Panthers 18-12. They then beat a Thurston-less Cowboys 26-6 before they were demolished by the Roosters 48-10. They struggled against a poor Canberra side, and lost 22-16 before beating Souths in an uninspiring contest 22-16. Parramatta managed to hold out the Warriors 32-24 before getting steamrolled by the Cowboys 32-6 in Darwin. The Eels bounced back winning six straight games, starting with a solid 24-10 win over the Dragons, then a 1 point win over the Dogs, a 22-6 victory against the Storm, another 1 point win, this time against the lowly Tigers, a dominant 28-14 victory over the Broncos and a 20-4 win over a disappointing Bulldogs side. Their win streak ended when they were out enthused and out played by the last placed Knights 29-10. The Eels hit back by belting the Titans 30-8 and then let their attack flow freely against the Broncos as the clocked up 52 points. The Eels closed out the season in fourth place with a 22-16 win over Souths. They lost their finals game in week 1 to the Storm 18-16.
The Cowboys opened their 2017 season with a golden point victory over a very strong Canberra side, scoring a fortunate try to win 20-16. They again returned to Golden Point in Round 2 in yet another classic match against the Broncos. A field goal by Johnathan Thurston got the Cowboys home 21-20, however they suffered heavy losses with several players injured, which showed the following week when they were overcome by Manly 30-8. The Cowboys bounced back to beat a fast finishing Titans side 32-26. After beating a poor Souths side 20-6 in Round 5, the Cowboys suffered a shock loss to the Tigers 26-16. They staged a second half fightback against the Dragons the following week, but fell short 28-22. They toppled the Knights 24-12 before a dismal effort against the Eels saw them go down 26-6. In Round 10 they cruised to a 30-14 win over an in-form Bulldogs side, before going down to Premiers Cronulla 18-14 in a spirited performance. After the bye, the Cowboys have been much better, beating the Titans 20-8 before easily accounting for the Eels 32-6. They then lost by a point to the Storm before beating; Penrith 14-12; a woeful Raiders side 31-18; Souths 23-10 and then the Warriors 24-12. After they went down to the Roosters 22-16, they have started to struggle, losing again to Melbourne by 18 points, then 24-16 to Penrith and 26-16 to the Sharks. The Cowboys bounced back with a late flurry to topple the Tigers 22-14, before losing their 5th game in 6 weeks, to the Broncos 20-10. The Cowboys then had a miraculous extra time victory over defending premiers Cronulla last week 15-14.
Flair v Grit – The flair of the Eels attack will come up against the grit of the Cowboys, who may be lacking the flair of Thurston, but aren’t lacking any heart or determination.
The Eels will be clear favourites, but they’ll be wary of the Cowboys putting in another performance as they did against the Sharks last week.
North Queensland $3.20