Eels wary of Rabbitohs’ forward pack
THEY sit seven places below them on the ladder, but the Eels have every reason to be cautious of the Rabbitohs when they clash at ANZ Stadium tomorrow night.
The 12th-placed Souths have won 10 of their past 11 clashes with the fifth-placed Eels, including their last in round 10.
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur said his troops were out-muscled up front last time as the Rabbitohs recorded a thrilling 22-20 win.
Many had tipped the Eels to win that game while charged with emotion following NRL punishment for salary cap breaches.
“Their forwards probably got on top of our forwards last time, so we need to make sure we aim up there and be strong and physical through the middle,” Arthur said.
Arthur said Eels prop Tim Mannah was due back from a shoulder injury after next weekend’s bye, and was hoping that would also be the case with centre/five-eighth Brad Takairangi (hamstring).
But he added his players would be wary of the new Souths halves pairing of Luke Keary and Cody Walker, with Greg Inglis and Adam Reynolds on respective Maroons and Blues duties.
The Eels have all but conceded the loss of fullback Michael Gordon to the Roosters, and he could move to the Bondi club before the June 30 deadline.
The Roosters want the 32-year-old in an effort to ease pressure on young custodian Latrell Mitchell.
“There are better opportunities at the Roosters so good luck to him,” Arthur said when asked about losing Gordon.
The Eels are keen to develop exciting young prospects Bevan French and Clinton Gutherson as fullbacks.