Eels concede it's top four or bust before crucial Tigers clash

By Adrian Proszenko
September 22, 2020 — 7.30pm

Parramatta stars concede they won't be a realistic chance of breaking a 34-year premiership drought unless they secure a top-four finish with a win against Wests Tigers on Saturday.

The Eels are sitting just one win above Canberra, who have a superior for and against, in fourth spot but could get leapfrogged pending the outcome of matches in the final round. If the Raiders beat the Sharks at 5.30pm on Saturday and the Eels lose to the Tigers straight after on the same evening, Parramatta will crash out of the top-four for the first time since round 1 and the second chance that comes with it in the playoffs.

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Brad Arthur's side led the competition for the opening two months but have struggled to reproduce that form as the regular season draws to a close. Their destiny is in their own hands, with a win over the Tigers guaranteeing a top-four finish and the advantages that come with it.

"It's massive," Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses said.

"You need to finish in the top four in order to have a chance of winning the comp.

"It would be pretty hard to win it outside the top four, I think. Stats have shown that in past seasons.

Reed Mahoney, Mitchell Moses and Clint Gutherson all say the Eels are staking their title hopes on finishing in the top four.CREDIT:BROOK MITCHELL

"Our full goal is to wrap up that top four spot this week against the Tigers."

No side has ever finished outside the top four and gone on to win the grand final, a point not lost on skipper Clint Gutherson.

"You have to, the stats prove it," Gutherson said. "Teams that finish in the top four are far more likely to win the comp. You get two cracks at it, you get a chance at a home semi, all of those little things that add up.

"We need to be [there], we set the goal at the start of the year to be in the top four and it's in our hands now.

The pressure is on Parramatta to clinch a top-four berth.CREDIT:GETTY

"We've got to make it happen."

Making Parramatta's task of finishing there more difficult is the fact the Tigers will be seeking to farewell favourite sons Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence with a win. The joint-venture outfit investigated the feasibility of giving the pair a Leichhardt Oval send off, but the game will instead be staged at Bankwest Stadium.

"It's a goal that's been ours since the COVID break," said prop Junior Paulo of top-four ambitions.

"History tells you that no team has won it outside the [top] four. It gives you a chance to have two cracks at the premiership, so it's definitely an important game this week against the Tigers.



Hooker Reed Mahoney added: "It's all on us this week. If we win, we're in the top four and that's what we're working towards."

The fixture will again pit Parramatta recruit Ryan Matterson against his former club. Matterson lasted just 15 minutes when the sides clashed back in round 11, taken off with concussion after a brutal collision with Tigers prop Russell Packer.

"They will probably come after him again like last time," Mahoney said. "Nothing will faze him, he'll go out there and do his business. Hopefully the result will come our way."

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  • We should win we have more to play for

  • Now reconcile this with your earlier blog. If this is not an example of how dumb the media play’s the punters I don’t know what is.  Double talk +mixed messages = BS 

  • In 1995 the dogs came from 5th to win it so there u go

  • Well, they've put the pressure on themselves, let's see how they respond


  • Based on our current form, I don't think there is a massive difference between finishing 4th or 5th. Finish 4th, and we have to get up for a game against the minor premiers. Last time we did that was in 2017 and we spent everything in the tank to try and know them off, before losing to the Cowboys the following week, who came off a confidence boosting win. 

    4th or 5th is irrelevant imo. Its a 4 week comp and you have to just keep winning. 

    • Can not argue with that. 

    • History says otherwise 

      • There's a first time for everything Brett. The Cows made it all the way from 8th in 2017, so it is possible to make the GF, then it's anyones game. 

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