Another single game slate in the NRL this Sunday, the 6th of June as the Newcastle Knights take on the Parramatta Eels from 4.05pm at McDonald Jones Stadium. As always, Billy Bestford has you covered with his preview and betting tips for the clash below.
McDonald Jones Stadium, Sunday 4.05pm (AEST)
With State Of Origin looming we have a shortened round this week, with just the four games across the weekend. All eyes will be on today’s clash between the Knights and the Eels as the home side looks to stay in touch with the top eight, while the Eels aim to stay inside the top four.
The Eels strong start to the year has kept them in 3rd position even after losing their last two matches. There is still clearly plenty that Brad Arthur and his men need to work on idf they are a legitimate premiership threat, following back to back losses to Manly and the Eels. The defence looks the biggest issue at the moment, conceding 28 points to the Sea Eagles before the Rabbitohs put on 38 last week. The majority of those tries all came down the right edge defence and it is clearly a target for opposition attacks. Blake Ferguson has been the one to lose out from that issue, after being dropped from the team for the first time this season following his personal defensive struggles. In a boost for Parramatta, they will get Reed Mahoney back from Origin camp after Queensland released him from their squad. The Eels will be looking to bounce back today and a third straight loss would see them drop outside the top four.
The Knights come into this one full of confidence, following a strong win here at home against the in-form Sea Eagles. They were one of the only teams this season to shut down the impact of Tommy Turbo and the result spoke for itself. It was the best defence we’ve seen from the Knights all year as they toughed out a gritty eight point victory. They will once again be without Kalyn Ponga this week due to Origin commitments but that win last week shows they can perform without their key stars in the side. Newcastle are yet to win back to back games this season so the pressure will be on once again to see if they can find some consistency this year. A win would see them edge into the top eight depending on certain results.
The Eels have hardly been impacted by State Of Origin and are one of the only top sides who come out relatively unscathed. They lose Junior Paulo but other than that, they look full strength on paper. That could turn out to be a blessing in disguise, especially considering the fact they have struggled in the last couple of weeks. Dylan Brown returns from suspension in a massive boost for the visitors as their attack has looked to have lost some spark recently. You can guarantee they will have been working on that right-edge defence all week and you’d imagine if they can sort that out, they have enough firepower to blow the Knights off the park.
Newcastle have been hit hard by suspensions, injuries and State Of Origin. They have lost key forwards Daniel Saifiti, Tyson Frizzel and David Klemmer and will be a big blow for a side already missing Kayln Ponga and Mitchell Pearce. It looks like an uphill battle for the home side and while they will take plenty of positives out of last week’s win, they’re going to have to tough it out against one of the better attacks in the league.
The return of Dylan Brown is a huge factor for the Eels, as his partnership with Moses was instrumental in them winning eight of their first nine games. Will Smith returns from injury and is a key part of their side being able to play anywhere on the park. The Eels were rolling a few weeks ago and if they can regain some of that form, they will be extremely hard to beat. The Knights have struggled playing at home this year, while the Eels have excelled when on the road. They have won their last eight away games when favourites with the bookies.
Both these sides have struggled with their defence for parts of this season and there looks to be a big chance of points scored today. With that in mind, I like the points line today to go overs and will add a bit of value to the tip. Expect Brad Arthur to have his team fired up this week and I think they will get the job done this afternoon.
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