By Stephen Gallagher
MATCH OF THE ROUND: ROUND 05 – Parramatta Eels V Cronulla Sharks – Saturday, Parramatta Stadium. 17.30 local time, 19.30 NZ time.
LAST WEEK: Parramatta were bent over, smacked repetitively on the ass and then smacked again for good measure 50-0 humiliating loss to the Sydney Roosters.
Cronulla were upset at home by the Dragons 25-12
THIS WEEK: The Eels need to take more risks. Their only victory of the season in round one they pushed the envelope more chances than not and it worked. Rugby league is very much confidence orientated, and despite the fact they are not setting the world on fire they need to back themselves. The ball needs to end up in the hands of the backs early on. Stacked with pace they need to get one on one out wide.
Headlines have proven no barrier for this gutsy Cronulla side. They need to continue their winning ways by not changing the game plan too much. With a team that can win a premiership, they need to confirm this with a strong start against dangerous opponents.
WHAT TO EXPECT: A great kicking game. Chris Sandow this season is adding an extra element to Parramatta that he forgot last year. However, this needs to be backed up with ball in hand. It’s all good to get the field position, but if you can’t contain the other side, and you waste time with the ball it’s all for nothing. This needs to improve if Parramatta want to improve.
Physicality is a dished best served up front. They have the power to run all over the Eels and the Sharks need to do just that. Keep the ball in hand and use the go forward to dominate the first half. Tire out the Eels and that’s when they will win it. Either side of the half.
THE BATTLE OF: Freakish Fullbacks. Game plan: give Jarryd Hayne the ball. He’s been too much of a passenger this season. He is the best attacking weapon Parramatta have ever had. Give him the ball. He’ll run all day.
Michael Gordon is proving to be the buy of the year it seems. He has upped his game in a fantastic way making him the front runner for the New South Wales fullback position without a doubt. His support play is second to none.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON: Jacob Loko – He has to be one of the bigger threats for the Eels to use.
Isaac De Gois. He may not be flash, but he does everything to get the Sharks on the front foot.
Two attacking teams going head to head is always a great game to pick, but Cronulla will win just not as every one will think they will. 28-24
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