Eels Begin Life Under Stuart

Image courtesy of abc.net.au, Photo: Getty Images/Matt Blyth
Chris Sandow was disappointing for the Eels last year. Photo: Getty Images/Matt Blyth
Last 5 Meetings

Round 2 2012 – New Zealand Warriors 36 d Parramatta Eels 20 at Parramatta Stadium
Round 1 2011 – Parramatta Eels 24 d New Zealand Warriors 18 at Eden Park
Round 26 2010 – New Zealand Warriors 26 d Parramatta Eels 12 at Parramatta Stadium
Round 17 2010 – New Zealand Warriors 35 d Parramatta Eels 6 at Mt Smart Stadium
Round 23 2009 – Parramatta Eels 40 d New Zealand Warriors 4 at Parramatta Stadium

Former New South Wales coach Ricky Stuart takes charge of the Parramatta Eels  for the first when they face the New Zealand Warriors  at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday. New signing Darcy Lussick will make his debut for the club but it is the players that won’t line up for the blue and gold that is the big story. Luke Burt and Nathan Hindmarsh leave a massive hole in the side following their retirements and their experience, as much as anything, will be sorely missed.

The Warriors also go into the new campaign without several big name players following the moves of James Maloney to the Roosters and Lewis Brown to the Panthers. They have recruited well for 2013 however and will have new signings Thomas Leuluai, Dane Nielsen and Todd Lowrie on board although Nathan Friend heads a list of first choice players unavailable through injury.

1st Tryscorer – Enigmatic fullback Jarryd Hayne  has been named one of two on-field captains for the 2013 NRL season and Ricky Stuart will no doubt be hoping that the added responsibility will be bring out the best in him. He managed to cross the line eight times in just 12 matches last year and is likely to pose plenty of problems for the Warriors.

Konrad Hurrell  burst onto the NRL scene last year with 12 tries – including one against the Eels - in just 17 matches and will be looking to start the new campaign in a similar vein.

Prediction – Although the Warriors traditionally struggle when they cross the Tasman, they have won their past two at Parramatta Stadium and six of the past eight overall against the Eels. Even without Nathan Friend they have plenty of firepower and can ensure that Ricky Stuart’s tenure at Parramatta doesn’t get off to a good start. New Zealand Warriors 1-12

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