Album: Rd 1: Eels Vs Warriors Preview!
Eels vs Warriors<br /> Parramatta Stadium<br /> Sat 9th March 5:30pm (local)<br /> <br /> The NRL is back baby! And back with a bang! This season kicks off with a 10 round bout between SBW’s Rooters up against Crocker’s Rabbits, and hasn’t it been an eventful offseason. Not even ASADA’s anal probing of the Sharks can take the gloss off this weekend.<br /> <br /> A Saturday night away fixture probably wasn’t the way most Warriors fans were hoping to see in the 2013 season, however the blame lies squarely at the feet of, well…Bluey. This blockbuster sees us up against last year’s wooden spoon recipients, and I back this match to contain about as much quality as a Black Caps squad.<br /> <br /> Both clubs have made big changes in the off-season and expectations are high. The Eels have brought in the enigmatic Ricky Stuart, he’ll bring a no-nonsense approach, combined with a touch of the crazies. I certainly expect him to gain the respect of the players, a feat Steve Kearney wasn’t able to achieve during his short tenure.<br /> <br /> The Eels were given the run-around by big Izzy in the off-season. No matter, I actually rate their young outside backs – especially when I compare them to our outside backs. Roster wise their only notable losses are Luke Burt and Nathan Hindmarsh. Unfortunately the notable gains are few and far between, and their roster remains one of the weakest in the competition.<br /> <br /> Injuries have been cruel to the Warriors earlier than usual this season, in particular our propping depth being tested after injuries to Sione Lousi and Russell Packer. Nathan Friend has been sidelined with another obscure injury with no firm return date, don’t be surprised to see that saga drag on. On a positive note, the return of Sam Rapira is huge, and if Ben Matulino can pick up where he left off then go-forward should not be a problem.<br /> <br /> Recent Form: Do trials count as form? Not really, however the Warriors finished their last trial in much better form than they had shown in the previous two. Perhaps they were buoyed by Vos