Is Hayne The Eels Savoir?

Jarryd Hayne - Parramatta Eels
Jarryd Hayne is to the Eels what Andrew Johns was to the Knights. Image courtesy of: Source: Information Corp Australia

Parramatta Eels Logo


Eels v Rabbitohs

Pirtek Stadium

Friday July 18 – 7:45 PM (AEST)

Form:


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South Sydney Rabbitohs Logo


 

This weekend is do-or-die for a lot of NRL teams. The Top 8 is so congested, with only three teams pretty much guaranteed a spot in the finals. Before the Origin period, the Parramatta Eels were sitting 4th on the ladder, but after losing five of their six games since Origin 1, they have dropped to 11th. The South Sydney Rabbitohs on the other hand have blossomed over the Origin period, winning four from six and jumping from 10th on the ladder to 4th.

Jarryd Hayne has been the catalyst for the Eels over the past six seasons. If he performs well, the Eels perform well. But when he doesn’t play for whatever reason (Origin or injury), they fall apart at the seams. Over the past two seasons, the Eels have won just 3 from 13 without Hayne. But if he remains injury-free for the remainder of the season, Parra’s resurgence will continue all the way to the finals. Hayne does return this week to fullback, allowing Chris Sandow to assume his preferred halfback role. Kenny Edwards also returns to the starting side, moving in the back row alongside Tepai Moeroa. Fuifui Moimoi starts at prop, with Pauli Pauli and Joseph Paulo both dropping back to the pine.

The Bunnies are back firing. While their victories over the past month have been less than convincing at times, a win is a win. Back-to-back losses against the Cowboys and the Titans will only be a blip on the radar come finals time. All they need is for their halves to start firing on a more consistent basis. Adam Reynolds has been solid at times, but can’t seem to find the form of the past two seasons. John Sutton is always solid but needs to take charge a lot more and become that leader he always has been. If young Luke Keary gets more game time under his belt, the Rabbitohs are sure to benefit. Greg Inglis returns from Origin duty, pushing Nathan Merritt back to NSW Cup. Keary reverts to the bench, with Sutton pushing back into pivot and Ben Lowe starting at lock. Issac Luke starts at hooker, with Apisai Koroisau dropping back to an extended bench, which includes Joe Picker, Jason Clarke and Joel Reddy.

The match-up between Hayne and Inglis is always one to watch. With Hayne in the form of his career, it is sure to be mouth-watering. But while these guys are superstars, they can’t do what they do best, if there's no space to work in. The team that finds the front foot early will win this game.

Channel 9




Toby's Tip: Bunnies 7-12

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