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Newcastle Knights vs Parramatta Eels NRL Preview and Team News - Knights aim to continue dominant record over Eels

Andrew Hendrie 11 Jul 2018
  • Newcastle Knights play host to Parramatta Eels in Round 18 of the NRL on Friday night
  • Knights have won nine of the last 11 encounters between the sides
Knights face Eels on Friday night

Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels target a rare win when they square off in NRL Round 18 action at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.

Both the Knights and Eels have registered just one win from their last eight matches - who emerges triumphant on Friday night as the two struggling teams collide?

Ironically, Newcastle’s last victory came against the Eels when they came away with a 30-4 triumph back in Round 13 - but it’s been slim pickings ever since.

The Knights have slipped from top eight contenders and are now firmly out of the race for a finals spot, failing to win since Round 13 and leaking the most points out of any team in the competition.

However, they do receive a major boost for this showdown, with star recruit Mitchell Pearce named to return from a pectoral injury. Considering Newcastle’s slide down the ladder coincided with Pearce being sidelined, that’s a huge inclusion.

Meanwhile, the Eels are still anchored to the bottom of the ladder despite receiving two points courtesy of last week’s bye.

After finishing in the top four last season, the Eels have endured a nightmare campaign and will do well to avoid the wooden spoon as they attempt to leapfrog the likes of Canterbury, North Queensland and Manly.

Parramatta rank last in attack, so we shouldn’t expect many points on Friday night. However, with the Knights’ great record over the Eels and the return of Pearce - along with playing at home - they should be able edge a narrow victory and return to the winners circle.

Stats


  • Knights won nine of the last 11 meetings against Eels
  • Knights won 30-4 back in Round 13
  • Last three matches between the sides have failed to surpass 39 points

Teams


Mitchell Pearce is the big in for Newcastle as the former Origin halfback comes back from injury in the No. 7 jersey, pushing Jack Cogger to the reserves. Nick Meaney gets a debut at fullback in place of the injured Kalyn Ponga, while Nathan Ross and Daniel Safiti are also new names in the team this week.

Tepee Moeroa returns from suspension in place of Will Smith in Parramatta’s only change.

Knights: 1 Nick Meaney, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Sione Mata'utia, 4 Cory Denniss, 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Mitchell Pearce (c), 8 Josh King, 9 Danny Levi, 10 Daniel Saifiti, 11 Mitch Barnett, 12 Aidan Guerra, 13 Herman Ese'ese

Interchange: 14 Nathan Ross, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Jamie Buhrer (c), 17 Jacob Lillyman, 

Reserves: 18 Luke Yates, 19 Sam Stone, 20 Jack Cogger, 21 JJ Felise

Eels: 1 Clint Gutherson (c), 2 Bevan French, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Jarryd Hayne, 5 George Jennings, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Cameron King, 10 Siosaia Vave, 11 Marata Niukore, 12 Brad Takairangi, 13 Nathan Brown

Interchange: 14 Tepai Moeroa, 15 Tim Mannah (c), 16 David Gower, 17 Peni Terepo

Reserves: 18 Kane Evans, 19 Kirisome Auva'a, 20 Jaeman Salmon, 21 Kaysa Pritchard

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Newcastle Knights vs Parramatta Eels NRL Preview and Team News - Knights aim to continue dominant record over Eels

Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels target a rare win when they square off in NRL Round 18 action at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.

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