Hayne will look to continue his impressive form heading into Origin. Image courtesy of: Picture: Mark Nolan.
Parramatta Eels v St George-Illawarra Dragons
Saturday May 17 – 3:05 PM (AEST)
The Parramatta Eels are showing promising signs early in the season. Some young players are starting to step up, the experienced ones are proving their class and the superstars are shining. The St George-Illawarra Dragons are also showing some glimpses of strong form. The only difference - the Dragons five-star performances are few and far between.
There is a solid argument that Jarryd Hayne is the best player in the NRL at the moment. Producing another first-class performance against the Sharks on Monday night, the Hayne Plane is definitely starting to take off. The powerhouse that is Semi Radradra is destroying defenders and the big Fijian is the comp's leading try-scorer with 11 from just 9 games. Coach Brad Arthur has made only one change to last week’s side, with Joseph Paulo starting at lock, moving Peni Terepo to the bench.
With no signs of Benji Marshall yet, the Dragons have decided to stick with the same halves they fielded against the Bulldogs last Sunday. While he has had his moments, Sam Williams just can’t seem to find the consistency a good half-back should have. The weight continually falls on Gareth Widdop’s shoulders. As the Origin period gets closer and closer, who will be selected is a hot topic. Brett Morris is a sure thing, while Trent Merrin and Josh Dugan have one more game to push their claims. Jason Nightingale returns from injury to replace Nathan Green on the wing. Leeson Ah Mau starts at prop, pushing Dan Hunt to the bench along with Will Matthews, who comes onto the pine for Mike Cooper. The possible late inclusion of Benji Marshall is definitely on the cards, if the Dragons can get through all the red tape.
Essentially this will be a battle of the fullbacks. With both Hayne and Dugan gunning for the Blues No.1, a superstar performance from both is on the cards. But with the Corey Norman and Chris Sandow starting to work well together in the halves, the Eels may just have this one.
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