Sharks search for scalp against the Eels

Clint Gutherson in action against the Storm. Photo: parraeels.com.au

Another couple of finals hopefuls clash on Saturday night when the Parramatta Eels face the Cronulla Sharks at Bankwest Stadium.

The Eels are coming off the back of a gutsy wet weather win against the Storm.

While the Sharks put in a valiant effort against the Raiders, but ultimately their errors wayward kicking cost them the match.

Eels winger Maika Sivo put on a wet weather masterclass against the Storm with 18 carries for 175 metres and two tries, including the sealer.

Mitchell Moses had a strong kicking game in the wet while fullback Clint Gutherson had four pivotal try saving efforts.

Second rower Marata Niukore made the late switch to centre after Waqa Blake suffered a calf strain at training and used his size to his advantage in the wet conditions.

The Sharks were well and truly in the contest against the Raiders with contributors all over the field.

Fullback William Kennedy (16 carries for 172 metres) and experienced winger Josh Dugan (15 carries for 141 metres) crossed the line for tries whilst racking up serious meterage.

While forward pair Wade Graham (12 carries for 114 metres, 33 tackles) and Toby Rudolf (15 carries for 160 metres, 25 tackles) held up their end of the bargain on offence and defence.

However, head coach John Morris conceded after the game that it was their high error tally of 18 that ultimately cost them the game despite a poor kicking performance from halfback Chad Townsend.

The Eels have been forced to make one change as second rower Ryan Matterson will miss due to concussion as the club take the conservative approach considering his history.

Isiah Papali’i has been rewarded for his great start with a spot on the while Ray Stone replaces him on the bench.

Niukore keeps his spot at centre as Blake is expected to miss the next couple of weeks.

The Sharks have also made one change as centre Mawene Hiroti has been dropped, Connor Tracey elevated from the bench and Teig Wilton coming up from the reserves.

The Sharks will be desperate to secure the win in order to propel themselves up the ladder the Eels will be desperate to remain one of the unbeaten teams heading into round four.

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