Parramatta Eels v St George Illawarra Dragons @ Parramatta Stadium
The Eels say goodbye to Parramatta Stadium in an otherwise low key match up with the Dragons on Monday Night. The Eels home for 30 years will be knocked down in favour of a new 30,000 seat stadium which will be a showpiece stadium for big sporting events in Sydney's west. It is also goodbye to Monday Night football after 10 years, with it being dumped from the NRL fixtute from next season moving forward. The Eels will go in search of their 12th win of a turbulent season after losing to the Raiders 28-18 last week in Canberra. The Dragons are also playing for pride after their faint finals hopes were ended when they were thumped 42-6 by the Roosters last week.
The Eels are able to welcome back a trio of starting players in Brad Takairangi, Beau Scott and Tepai Moeroa for the clash. The Eels have won their past 3 matches against the Dragons with all those victories come at Parramatta Stadium. The Eels have won 189 of their 343 games at Parramatta Stadium and will be determined to end on a winning note there tonight. Recently retired Eels great Nathan Hindmarsh was the player with the most overall appearances at the venue with 144. Luke Burt secured the most points the venue with 926, while the Eels biggest win came back in 2003 when they belted the Sharks 74-4 with Jamie Lyon claiming a remarkable 5 tries.
Paul McGregor made the big call during the week to drop Benji Marshall from first grade effectively ending his time at the Dragons and potentially his NRL career. In comes 21 year old Drew Hutchinson, who gets the opportunity to prove his case to become the halfback at the Dragons in 2017. Mitch Rein is another player the Dragons are letting go as some tough decisions are made around a club that has been stuck in mediocrity since their Premiership in 2010. McGregor faces the prospect of heading into 2017 under pressure and with no big name signings, Dragons fans have a right to be feeling a little glum right now.
Verdict - Have to go for the Eels here in their last ever home game at Parramatta Stadium. Just think they might be a little bit more motivated then the Dragons and have a slight class edge. Eels by 10