Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys preview: Can the Eels hold onto the top spot?
 Maika Sivo has been important for the Eels in previous games

The Parramatta Eels host the North Queensland Cowboys at the Bankwest Stadium on Friday in round eight of the 2020 NRL.

The Eels, who currently top the ladder, picked up a narrow victory against the Canberra Raiders last weekend thanks to a drop goal from Clinton Gutherson in golden point extra time

The Cowboys have picked up six points this season, and were 32-20 victors against the high-flying Newcastle Knights in round seven.

Parramatta will undoubtedly be the favourites for the game, but a North Queensland side whose first-half performance saw them beat the current fifth-placed side will be a strong test for the Eels.

Team news

For the Raiders, Jai Field replaces Mitchell Moses, who limped off against the Raiders with a calf injury, at halfback with David Gower getting a spot on the bench instead of Daniel Alvaro.

Val Holmes is closing in on a return for the Cowboys after being out with an ankle injury and has been named in the reserves for the match. Justin O'Neill has been named on the wing with Tom Opacic playing at centre. 

Teams

Parramatta Eels

Starting 13: Gutherson, Sivo, Jennings, Blake, Ferguson, Brown, Field, Campbell-Gillard, Mahoney, Paulo, Lane, Matterson, Niukore

Interchange: Stone, Gower, Kaufusi, Takairangi

Reserves: Utoikamanu, Alvaro, Jennings, Smith

North Queensland Cowboys

Starting 13: Tabuai-Fidow, Feldt, Opacic, Marsters, O'Neill, Drinkwater, Clifford, McGuire, Robson, McLean, Wright, Hess, Taumalolo

Interchange: Hampton, Cooper, Hola, Molo

Reserves: Cotter, Holmes, Jensen, Granville

Form guide

Parramatta Eels: WLWWW

North Queensland Cowboys: WLLLW

Ones to watch

Parramatta Eels

If there's one positive that may have arisen from the injury to kicker Mitchell Moses, it is that it finally gives rookie half Jai Field a chance to prove himself at the Eels.

Field played eleven games for the St. George Illawarra Dragons' first-team but was let go over the off-season and was snapped up by Parramatta.

Embed from Getty Images

Friday's game should be his fifth time starting and he will likely look to bring some attacking firepower to solidify his position as the main backup for if Brown or Moses spend any more time on the sidelines.

North Queensland Cowboys

In the club's victory over the Newcastle Knights last weekend, North Queensland halfback Jake Clifford arguably enjoyed his best first-team performance.

He racked up a try assist, seven tackle breaks and a try of his own and was rewarded with three Dally M points for his efforts.

Embed from Getty Images

Clifford started this year outside of the top 17, with big shoes to fill replacing Johnathan Thurston. If he keeps up his level of football to that displayed last week then it will give head coach Paul Green a serious headache when it comes to selecting his squad when captain Michael Morgan recovers from his current injury.

Where to watch on TV and stream

The game is set to kick off at 10:55BST/17:55ACT and will be available to watch worldwide

  • For viewers in Australia, Fox League have coverage of Friday's game
  • For those in the United Kingdom, the match is available to watch on Sky Sports Arena.
  • For international viewers, Watch NRL will be broadcasting the game
VAVEL Logo