Much has been written of the Roosters' form this season and their lack of luck on the injury front. They're not the Cooper Cronk-led behemoth of 2018 and 2019 but they remain one of the toughest and most consistent teams in the competition.

However, due to their injuries, Parramatta have their best shot at finally breaking the drought against the boys from Bondi on Friday night.

With Friend, Lam, Keary, Cordner, Collins, Verrills, B Morris and Tupouniua all unavailable, they severely lack much of their big game experience.

In recent seasons the Eels have either been blown off the park or lasted 60-65 minutes before wilting.

In 2020, save for the Dragons match, Parramatta has been fairly consistent. Against the big boys such as the Storm and Raiders they've turned up for the 80 minutes, while against lesser sides they've either slowly ground them down, or done enough to win and eventually win comfortably.

Brad Arthur did say now isn't the time to be peaking from a performance point of view, and he's right. Premierships aren't won now, they're won in September and October and the Eels have famously run out of petrol at the back end of the season in recent years.

Firstly, I have now doubt the side will be primed for this clash. In round one they fumbled their way through the first half against Brisbane before turning up in the second half. They put any consistency worries aside the following week when they went pound for pound with the Storm in torrential rain, eventually out-Melbourning Melbourne.

Now, the biggest headline for the Roosters aside from injury has been the performances of Sam Walker. The teenage halfback has been outstanding for the tri-colours.

Out of his five NRL games he's won four of them.

However, let's dig a little deeper into that.

His four wins are against the Warriors, Sharks, Dragons and Knights. They are solid competition, but all four have the ability to self-combust as we saw Newcastle limply roll over on Saturday night.

His one loss came at the hands of the Melbourne Storm.

In that game, the Storm showed how to beat the Roosters.

It's no surprise the power running game played a big role here.

The Storm ran for an extra 500m, while breaking nearly double the tackles. They also completed at 82 per cent while the Roosters only managed 70 per cent completions. The Roosters will always give you chances, they have traditionally been a low completion rate side but have had the ability to defend their mistakes.

Now while Sam Walker has been great for the Roosters, the Storm took that strength and turned it into a weakness.

Whilst Walker was only forced into making 14 tackles, he missed three for a tackle percentage of 82 per cent. His bodyguard was Tupouniua who completed 35 tackles but missed 8 for a pretty poor completion rate of 74.5 per cent.

This is Parramatta's target.

Not only is Nat Butcher now filling in on that edge, and he tends to more be a middle who can play edge, but Parramatta will be starting this match with Isaiah Papali'i on their potent left side.

The Ice man is the form backrower of the competition. He powers through forwards for fun - just ask the other, lesser Papalii. A 78kg halfback should be no problem for him.

Not only this, but the Eels can use that edge to open up the right side of the field. By punching down the left, they will pull the Roosters defence that way, using the ball skills of our middle forwards, we can then shift to what would be a stretched Roosters left edge, giving us one-on-one match-ups.

Adding to this, Mitchell Moses should take advantage of the fact Matt Ikuvalu has replaced Brett Morris. Ikuvalu is a solid winger, but gives away plenty in height and size to Maika Sivo. Bombs to that edge should be a well-used tactic.

Not only this but I'd like to see the Eels send Maika back on the inside when going left to both hold up the defensive line, but also isolate Sam Walker. 

Make no mistake, the Roosters will be tough, but with smart game management and ruthless attack, the Eels can announce themselves as Premiership contenders on Friday night.

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  • Nice round up Super. Seeing us as pretty strong favourite in the odds makes me so nervous in a way only an Eels supporter can understand.

    We need to keep taking big scalps. We did it with Melbourne, we did it with Canberra, this is our next step.

    If the team take the game to the Roosters and play smart and patient footy and stick to the game plan, I think we'll win pretty comfortably. But if we drop out heads for a period of time the Roosters have the strike power to make us pay and potentially rack up a score that becomes too hard to chase down.

    The Moses vs Walker battle has the chance to silence the Moses doubters or make them more vocal than ever. Here's hoping it's the former.

    Go the Eels!

  • Even with their injuries they still boast 7-8 origins/internationals.I personally think they will be tougher to beat with their squad now then if they had all their players.Eels better be ready for an early ambush imo.

  • Yep, agree re Walker, there's plenty on here that have called Moses a flat track bully, but when you look at the Warriors, Sharks, Dragons and Knights - they're probably close to the worst 4 performing teams at the moment. Still, the media have found their new darling and are pumping his tyres endlessly. The Sharks game in particular, the Roosters didn't win that - Townsend lost it for the Sharks with 2 or 3 terrible defensive efforts that let the Roosters back in it when they were being dominated.

    I am not worried about this game at all, in fact, after the 1st 8 rounds I don't hold any of the old fears of a few years ago which was weekly. I think we win and we win well, Eels by 14.

    • I like it Brissy and great blog Super.  

      Walker has shown he's the next superstar of our game but for now it's Moses' time to give him a lesson, closely followed by the announcement of him signing the biggest contract of his career. 

      Everything is telling the astute punter that the Eels, with the Iceman and Carty now in their pack, Reed and Gutho in the form of their lives and Mitch's new found game management, should be too strong for the chooks who are being conducted by an 18 year old, Teddy fresh from a spell and with their injury crisis. 

      Parra by the length of the straight!

       

  • It's like the Chookens are cap compliant. I fancy our chances

  • The thing when you're playing the Roosters is that you can't get down if they score a couple of spectacular tries, they have the ability to score tries that offer teams don't. You can defend them perfectly but they still score. As Super has pointed out they will give you some chances in return. But teams fall into the mistake of trying to go try for try with them. 

    Patience will be the key. 

  • South's seem to have found the right formula to beat the Roosters. If I were on the Eels coaching team I'd be looking very closely at the last two South's Vs Roosters games to try and deconstruct exactly what they're doing because they have absolutely dominated them.

  • Sam Walker's set up most of his try assists by throwing the cut out loop pass. Our wingers need to mark up.

    • My thoughts too. Should even be keeping a (careful) eye out for intercepts. Walker tends to throw looping cut out passes without checking the defence. He relies on the winger jamming in and a certain B.Morris turning the possible into the near certain. If we play smart we should replicate storm's victory over the vulnerable chooks.

  • Well put super!

    If we can beat roosters on friday night and then , rabbitohs as well as panthers, we're a strong chance to win the comp.

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