Good news for the Eels with star winger Maika Sivo passing his HIA and returning to the field.
It’s the boost they need as the Raiders really challenge them in what’s been a “tight tussle” in the opening 20 minutes by Fox League commentator Andrew Voss.
Ricky’s Raiders could record three straight wins for the first time this season if they can knock off the Eels. But they’ll have to do it without star five-eighth Jack Wighton (ribs) and rookie sensation Xavier Savage (shoulder).
Matt Frawley replaces Wighton in the halves, while Jordan Rapana shifts to fullback and Harley Smith-Shields comes onto the wing.
MATCH CENTRE: Eels vs Raiders live updates, score, video
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A lot of fans had put a line through the Raiders after a horror mid-season run where they won just two out of 13 games. But an upset over Manly and then a comprehensive win over the Sharks has the Green Machine sitting just outside of the top eight.
Eels coach Brad Arthur has made several changes to his side — both forced and unforced.
Star halfback Mitch Moses is sidelined with what was revealed earlier this week to be a back fracture that he suffered in his Origin debut. Arthur’s son, Jakob, once again replaced Moses in the No.7 jersey.
Veteran winger Blake Ferguson has been recalled in place of Haze Dunster, while Tom Opacic is out and exciting young gun Will Penisini will make his NRL debut in the centres.
A win for the Eels could solidify their spot in the top four.
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Jakob Arthur 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown 14. Marata Niukore 15. Shaun Lane 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Will Smith 18th man: 19. Bryce Cartwright
Raiders: 1. Jordan Rapana 2. Harley Smith-Shields 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Semi Valemei 6. Matt Frawley 7. Sam Williams 17. Joseph Tapine 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Emre Guler 11. Corey Harawira-Naera 12. Hudson Young 13. Ryan Sutton 8. Josh Papalii 14. Tom Starling 15. Matthew Timoko 16. Iosia Soliola 18th man: 19. Ryan James
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