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NRL: Eels keen to build on Panthers win

Parramatta Eels will look to build on their first win of the season against Penrith when they take on the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night.

It has been a disappointing start to the season for the Eels who lost their opening three games before pulling off a thrilling golden-point win over the Panthers last week.

That should give them great confidence and spur them on to even better things, but they now face another massive test at Allianz Stadium.

The Roosters have bounced back well after losing the opening game of the season against the Dolphins. Back-to-back wins have taken them to fifth on the ladder and the win over the Rabbitohs before the bye will have given them a boost. 

Trent Robinson’s side should be well rested and ready to go again after a week off so we could be in for another thriller on Thursday night. We have had plenty of those already this season and it is almost guaranteed we will get much of the same this weekend. 

Let’s take a closer look at both sides as the opening game of week five fast approaches.

What:Sydney Roosters v Parramatta Eels
Where:Allianz Stadium, Sydney
When:20:00 (AEST) Thursday 30th March 2023
How to watch:Channel 9, Kayo, Foxtel
Odds:Roosters 1.56, Eels 2.45

Manu missing for Roosters

It has been a big week for both sides away from the pitch and they will be looking forward to putting that behind them and playing some quality rugby league on Thursday night.

There has been something of a media circus surrounding the Roosters following the news Joseph Suaalli has opted to turn his back on the club and move to Rugby Union at the end of the season.

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The strapping centre has divided opinion with his defection but he remains a Rooster for now at least and will take his place in the side that faces the Eels. Trent Robinson will expect nothing but 100 percent commitment from the player who will be in the spotlight against the Eels.

The Bondi outfit were one of the hot fancies to win the premiership heading into the new season and they are starting to find their feet, just like new recruit Brandon Smith who has starred in the wins over the Warriors and Souths. Sydney’s forward pack will again be crucial with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Victor Radley leading the way.

There is one big loss for the Tricolours however. Star centre Joey Manu will have to serve a one-match suspension following a high shot against the Rabbitohs. That presents an opportunity for Drew Hutchison to step into the fold and impress. The Roosters will also be looking to continue their impressive form at the revamped Allianz Stadium. 

They have won three out of four games there and it is turning into something of a fortress.

Paulo serves Eels suspension

The Eels should still be buzzing following the win over the Panthers. However some of the attention has been taken away from that win with focus switching to captain Clint Gutherson. 

It has been revealed Parramatta are targeting a new marquee signing for next season, with a new fullback top of the wanted list. That would mean Gutherson having to play elsewhere, casting some doubt over his future.

Gutherson, who is under contract until the end of 2025 has played such talk down and now all focus is on the Roosters. The Roosters have won six of the last seven games between the two sides so the Eels will be keen to stop the rot. In Maika Sivo they have the player to help them get the job done.

He has scored four tries in five games against the Roosters and will be pivotal again on Thursday night. So will a forward pack that will have to do without Junio Paulo who is serving a two-game suspension.

But with Ryan Matterson back in the fold alongside Reagan Campbell-Gillard, the Eels are in strong, capable hands. Wiremu Greig comes in to the side to replace Paulo and coach Brad Arthur will have every faith in him to help get the job done. 

After bouncing back against the Panthers last week, the Eels will be keen to prove it was no fluke and they are genuine title contenders. With that in mind they need another win at Allianz.

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