The out of sorts New Zealand Warriors are away from home, deep in the Golden West tonight – as they face the Parramatta Eels coming off a large home win against the star-less Cowboys last weekend.

The Ivan Cleary coached Warriors will be hell bent on making amends for the last few weeks, and after such an explosive start, the Warriors have fallen away recently. The Warriors won’t want to keep slipping back in the pack as we head into the middle phase of NRL in season 2007.

State of Origin team members Steve Price, Nathan Hindmarsh and Jarryd Hayne all return for this clash – as does Parramatta’s Timana Tahu, Fui Fui Moi Moi and Chad Robinson slips into the starting side for the injured star Feleti Mateo.

Parramatta are a different side in night games and win 50% more matches under the moonlight. As Phil Gould tells us nearly every week on Channel 9 commentary coverage – the Parramatta Eels do love the soft, dewy surface and it really brings their grinding style into play. The Eels have enjoyed good rotation from hookers PJ Marsh and Mark ‘Piggy’ Riddell (Pictured) – who have swapped perfectly this year to cause opposing teams headaches around the ruck. Riddell spoke with the media yesterday, and stressed the importance of the Eels getting a back to back win tonight and stringing a few wins together.

Looking at the Warriors, I think this could be the opposite. Their strong and speedy outside backs, who have a tendancy to get the dropsies – a la Manu Vatuvei and an out of sorts Wade McKinnon last week. Expect to see plenty of traffic at Manu’s wing, and the Eels will hunt former recruits Witt and McKinnon as the old boys got one up on them earlier in the year with a win in Auckland.

Home ground advantage, cover of darkness and the return of their stars – should see Parramatta outshine the Warriors as the game wears on.

Parramatta Eels by 16 points.

Stay tuned tomorrow, for our new column by ‘The Grubber’ – after great feedback from his first posting last week, our NRL News fans will continue to enjoy his specific opinion and sarcastic style on your teams – as opposed to other on-line NRL websites who simply provide minute by minute game reviews with no opinion provided.

By ricky

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