Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Can Moses part the Black and Gold Sea?
2018 - a year that Mitchell Moses was meant to be one of a number of players to lead Parramatta to premiership glory, with the last time they won a premiership having been when his namesake parted the red sea and led the Israelites to safety.
Unfortunately for Eels fans this year has started off much like the 40 years in the desert that the other Moses led his team to - with injuries mounting can a team with so much promise finally start to deliver this season?
Their opposition meanwhile have somehow forged a reputation for tenacious defence and but for an atrocious piece of refereeing last week could be three-and-zero to start the season. Gone are the Tigers of old with their flick passes and trick plays, this is a team who have won their 2 games on pure guts and determination.
In team news, the Wests Tigers have made just one change to their side with Matt McIlwrick to play from the bench, Pita Godinet promoted back to starting hooker. Parramatta have made a few optional changes and a few forced, with Will Smith and George Jennings in the backline for the injured Jarryd Hayne & Bevan French, while Kaysa Pritchard has pushed Cam King out of the hooker spot, and Peni Terepo & Tony Williams join the interchange at the expense of Suaia Matagi and off-season signing Kane Evans.
Last meeting: Round 20 2017 - Wests Tigers 16 Eels 17
Who to watch: M Moses. We've already seen one former Tiger get it all wrong in a match-up with the bus driver and his men (James Tedesco, Round 1 anyone?). Will Moses get the better of his former team mates? If Parramatta are to win then he will need to be a pivotal figure, injuries to big names in the backline in French and Hayne combined with a horrid start to the year mean now is the time for Moses to stand up and show his former employers what they're missing out on.
In what is one of the most bizarre story lines to start the year the Tigers don't have just one outstanding player to watch, there's no one player who is creating everything or leading this team around but rather it's every single player. Everyone knows their role in defence and continuously turns up for their mates, wins have been grafted rather than created. If the Tigers are to win then this trend will continue, the heroes will be in defence and not in attack as they stifle the stuttering Eels.
The favourite: Form lines being what they are, the Tigers have more support in the markets, but there's a fair bit of money behind the Eels to kick start their season
My tip: I've been stung by the Eels twice this year already but I'm willing to give them one more chance, I think this week will be the week that their attack finally clicks, with Hayne and French out there's more soldier and less generals in the backline which will allow Moses and Norman to take command, spread their wings and control the game from the outset. Eels by 10.
21. Tuimoala Lolohea 1. Corey Thompson 3. Esan Marsters 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Russell Packer 9. Pita Godinet 10. Ben Matulino 11. Chris Lawrence 12. Robert Rochow 13. Matt Eisenhuth 15. Alex Twal 16. Michael Chee Kam 17. Josh Aloiai 20. Jacob Liddle
1. Will Smith 2. George Jennings 3. Michael Jennings 4. Kirisome Auva'a 5. Josh Hoffman 6. Corey Norman 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Daniel Alvaro 9. Kaysa Pritchard 10. Tim Mannah 11. Manu Ma'u 15. Kenny Edwards 13. Nathan Brown 12. Tepai Moeroa 14. Beau Scott 16. Peni Terepo 17. Tony Williams
Referees: Gerard Sutton, Gavin Reynolds; Sideline Officials: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski, Peter Gough; Video Referees: Jared Maxwell, Ben Galea;