NRL Round 15 – Match 7 Preview: Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels

The final game for Round 15 has the Eels travel to Energy Australia Stadium to play the Knights on Monday night.

Newcastle are really starting to struggle this season and come into this one on the back of three straight losses to the Tigers, Panthers and Warriors. After the disappointing month the Knights now find themselves well down the ladder in the 14th spot, just one above the last of the premiership contenders with Melbourne locked into the bottom rung.

The Eels dropped out of the top eight a couple of weeks ago when they lost to the Sharks and then the Dragons. But they were at their best in Round 13 smashing the Storm 24 – 10 in the highly anticipated 2009 Grand Final rematch. Parramatta are fresh off a bye this week and should travel well.

Skipper Kurt Gidley is the only player backing up from Origin duties for Newcastle, so the Knights have a strong home game squad. The Eels on the other hand have two instrumental players coming out of Origin with Blues reps Jarryd Hayne and Nathan Hindmarsh both returning after suffering a loss to Queensland.

The Eels are the warm $1.58 favourites with Ladbrokes.com.au, while the Knights are at the longer odds of $2.40. With Newcastle’s captain Gidley feeling downtrodden after being put on the bench for Origin and then smashed when on the field Wednesday, his passion for the game looks at a low and the ability to rise above and captain his team to success against a strong Eels outfit looks unlikely.

Eels to win and be reunited with a spot in the top eight.

Current Head-to-Head Odds:

Knights $2.40 – Eels $1.58 Ladbrokes.com.au

Round 15 Knights Team:

1. Kurt Gidley (c) 2. Akuila Uate 3. Junior Sa’u 4. Adam MacDougall 5. James McManus 6. Ben Rogers 7. Jarrod Mullen 8. Ben Cross 9. Isaac De Gois 10. Dan Tolar 11. Zeb Taia 12. Cory Paterson 13. Matt Hilder

Bench: 14. Wes Naiqama 15. Con Mika 16. Richie Fa’aoso 17. Mark Taufua

Reserve: 18. Joel Edwards

Round 15 Eels Team:

1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Luke Burt 3. Joel Reddy 4. Timana Tahu 5. Eric Grothe 6. Kris Keating 7. Daniel Mortimer 8. Nathan Cayless (c) 9. Jeff Robson 10. Fuifui Moimoi 11. Nathan Hindmarsh (c) 12. Ben Smith 13. Feleti Mateo

Bench: 14. Tom Humble 15. Tim Mannah 16. Justin Horo 17. Justin Poore

Reserve: 18. Krisnan Inu