They are pretty close to full strength. I can't find their full squad but this is their starting side.Parra have to be fielding something fairly close to full strength. Gutherson, Jennings and Hoffman are all present at the very least.
Nice summary. Better than what half the hacks offer us. Thanks.Eels bench was
14. Tim Mannah
15. David Gower
16. Jaeman Salmon
17. Peni Terepo
18. Oregon Kaufusi
19. Stefano Utoikamanu
20. Haze Dunster
21. Rhys Davies
Then in the 4th Quater they played their ISP side which is where they subsequently lost the game.
Judging from their first trial, the Eels will likely play through the middle, especially with the emergence of Paulo and Mahoney. Paulo was head and shoulders the best forward on the park, constantly bending the line, creating second phase and providing a nice pass option in the middle. Ever since he left the Eels, they've been looking for Paulo clones, but now they've got the real deal, I expect to see the best out of Paulo.
M. Jennings played his natural left hand position and was easily accounted for by the Raiders rookie centre, Kris. Jennings scored the Eels last try, but I'd say it was the vision of Gutherson to know the Raiders were vulnerable to the kick than any good work from him. His brother George had good carries, but still had a few mistakes in his game.
Niukore got to play on the right edge over Shaun Lane and looked quite strong in the position. Moses used Niukore pretty well, giving him early ball to use his big right foot-step and he showed some decent skills to link up with the players around him and prove he was more than just a battering ram. Lane didn't have as much success linking with rookie half Dylan Brown, but did pop a nice offload which should have resulted in an Eels try. With Ma'u set to join the team, it suggests that Lane may come off the bench with Ma'u and Niukore to start.
There's a lot of positive press surrounding Dylan Brown's performance. He looked like he belonged out there, albeit he played more of a support role behind Moses. A couple of nice kicks, but it was his running game where he was most impressive. A couple of half-breaks here and there, one of which led directly to the Jennings try. With Salmon playing right centre, it all but confirms that Brown will be the Eels left-side option.
Speaking of Salmon, I was impressed with his performance at right centre. He wasn't tested much in defence so it remains to be seen if he can fill that problematic position, but he's a big body player who likes to get his hands on the footy and has good foot-work. He's got the basics you want out of a centre, it just remains to be seen whether Arthur will play him over Takairangi.
Young Ethan Parry looked OK. Parry was solid carting the ball up, finished off two tries and didn't looked over-awed. Kaufusi looked pretty raw, defensively he struggled to control the defence, he was exposed around marker and his carries weren't too impressive. Utoikamanu looked the better prospect for mine, he was more agile, better leg-strength and I didn't notice him in defence which for a prop is usually a good thing.
Dunster came on for Parry and looked to pick up an injury early on. I didn't see much from him, and the only note-worthy thing was that he was preferred over Leleisiuao which is interesting because Greg is a part of the NRL squad. Davies came on right before the ISP side did so it was difficult to get much of a read on him.
I'd say the most concerning thing for Parra is how both the tries they conceded with their NRL players came through the middle. Starling just caught Terepo napping, whereas the second try came through a bunch of charges in the middle. It isn't what you want to see, especially when 3 of the 4 tries you score are all off kicks.
With Canberra, I didn't pay as much attention to them since they were running mostly ISP players. Simonssen was their preferred fullback to begin with but he made a few mistakes at the back which really hurt the side. Simonssen is a raw prospect who looks talented enough (he was handling the goal-line drop outs) and has that big body but he was pulled for those mistakes. Their new recruit Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was the pick of the fullbacks making nice metres around the middle and even producing a line-break off a kick return. Nicoll-Klokstad's best attribute is his foot-work and there were a few times where he was able to wrong-foot the defence and win the tackle. Tom Starling out of dummy half made a nice difference around the ruck, he scored their opening try and looked better than Havili. Jack Murchie on the right fringe made some nice runs as well, albeit the Raiders had very little ball and territory. Finally Corey Horsburgh looked quite strong in the middle. Horsburgh has a good frame on him for a forward and plays with the type of aggression you want to see, he certainly deserves more game-time against the Dogs next week.