The Raiders handed Parra a bit of a lesson down in the nation's capital back in round five but with both sides coming off last-start wins, will the resurgent Eels provide a sterner test in Darwin?
Canberra did a good job of taking Blake Ferguson out of the game last time but the recalled Blue is coming off a big Origin win.
Both teams are coming off a win with the Raiders almost folding after racking up a big lead against the Sharks at home in round 14 while the Eels were far too good for a listless Brisbane at Bankwest.
Match: Eels v Raiders
Round 15 -
Venue: TIO Stadium, Darwin
Eels: Tepai Moeroa replaces Marata Niukore on the interchange, and George Jennings drops off the extended bench. Michael Jennings remains sidelined by the knee injury which kept him out of Tonga's side for the Test against New Zealand. Brad Takairangi takes his place in the centres. Classy young five-eighth Dylan Brown (back) makes his first appearance since round three and Jaeman Salmon moves to the interchange. Will Smith and Daniel Alvaro dropped out of the squad on Friday.
Raiders: Canberra are 1-17 as named on Tuesday, with Sam Williams and JJ Collins dropping off the reserves list. Sebastian Kris gets the nod to start for injured Origin centre Nick Cotric, while Josh Hodgson returns at hooker and Siliva Havili switches to the bench. The Raiders have also been boosted by the return of forward Corey Horsburgh. Royce Hunt and Michael Oldfield were pruned from the reserves on Friday.
Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton GuthersonFullback for Raiders is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika SivoWinger for Raiders is number 2 Bailey Simonsson
Centre for Eels is number 3 Brad TakairangiCentre for Raiders is number 3 Jarrod Croker
Centre for Eels is number 4 Josh HoffmanCentre for Raiders is number 4 Sebastian Kris
Winger for Eels is number 5 Blake FergusonWinger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan Rapana
Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan BrownFive-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack Wighton
Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell MosesHalfback for Raiders is number 7 Aidan Sezer
Prop for Eels is number 8 Kane EvansProp for Raiders is number 8 Josh Papalii
Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed MahoneyHooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh Hodgson
Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior PauloProp for Raiders is number 10 Dunamis Lui
2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 John Bateman
2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Manu Ma'u2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead
Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan BrownLock for Raiders is number 13 Joseph Tapine
Interchange for Eels is number 14 Jaeman SalmonInterchange for Raiders is number 14 Siliva Havili
Interchange for Eels is number 15 Peni TerepoInterchange for Raiders is number 15 Corey Horsburgh
Interchange for Eels is number 16 David GowerInterchange for Raiders is number 16 Iosia Soliola
Interchange for Eels is number 19 Tepai MoeroaInterchange for Raiders is number 17 Ryan Sutton
Josh Papalii and Junior Paulo will tear in and try to lay the platform for victory. Both men have ample experience and know what it takes to get the edge in the early exchanges. Another match-up worth watching will be wingers Blake Ferguson and Jordan Rapana - both are strong on kick return and capable of pulling down a screamer off a high ball to snare a four-pointer.
For the Eels to win
The Eels simply got bashed last time they played the Raiders and it will be up to the likes of former Raider Paulo to make sure that doesn't happen again. The Eels also gave up too much cheap ball in that game but if Paulo, Nathan Brown and Manu Ma'u can replicate the form that saw them steamroll the Broncos then Moses and Brown will have a platform to work off.
For the Raiders to win
There's no reason to go away from what worked last time. Pin the wingers to the corners and swamp them and force the Eels to play off the back foot. The Raiders have won three straight since a surprise loss to the Cowboys with the fit-again John Bateman set to be a key man as always for a mobile and energetic pack that works opposition forwards around in the middle.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Raiders are going from the cold of Canberra to Darwin. It is going to favour the Eels. Brad Arthur challenged his side the other week – and I think they’ll cause an upset this week. Jaeman Salmon will make a difference to the Parramatta side. Eels by 6
Parramatta's huge tally of 1929 run metres against Brisbane last-start was just their fourth biggest total this year (the other three were all in wins, the biggest their Easter Monday total of 2040 against Wests Tigers). Canberra have yet to make that much ground in any game this season, with their 1873 two weeks ago against the Tigers their best.
And another thing ...
Ferguson wasn't the only player on show who had fun over the rep weekend with his clubmates Maika Sivo (Fiji), Junior Paulo (Samoa) and a trio of Cook Islands reps (Tepai Moeroa, Brad Takairangi and Marata Niukore) enjoying big wins. Ma'u and Peni Terepo (Tonga) plus Tim Mannah (Lebanon) were also in action. Blues centre Jack Wighton is the only Raider to have had some joy in the rep break while Maroons prop Josh Papalii was also in action.