Eels have more strike power: Benji - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels have more strike power: Benji

By David Beniuk and Jim Morton 23/09/2009 05:42:39 PM Comments (0)

The Parramatta juggernaut has been given the seal of approval from the king of NRL finals momentum - Benji Marshall.

Marshall famously side-stepped and flick-passed the Wests Tigers to a fairytale premiership in 2005 as the club rode a wave of 12 wins from their last 14 games that season.

The Tigers won eight straight before losing their last two regular season matches and then put on four straight finals victories, culminating in a 30-16 grand final win over North Queensland.

In an eerily similar scenario, the 2009 Eels won seven of their last eight, slipping up against St George Illawarra in round 26, and have won their first two finals matches, over the Dragons and Gold Coast.

That run, after they started the season losing five of their first seven, leaves Parramatta just two wins away from a first premiership since 1986.

"Momentum is important and maybe the week off (for the Bulldogs) might hurt some teams, but it just seems like it's meant to be for Parra, just how it felt in `05 for us," Marshall told reporters on Wednesday.

"It feels like one of those fairytales and that it's meant to be for blokes like (Nathan) Hindmarsh and (Nathan) Cayless."

The Eels' next task will be Friday night's preliminary final against western Sydney rivals the Bulldogs at a near capacity ANZ Stadium.

A win would mean them playing either Melbourne or Brisbane in the decider on October 4.

"Parra have been the form team of the last 10 weeks and with the form Jarryd Hayne is in and to have (Krisnan) Inu back maybe and (Daniel) Mortimer, I can't see them being beaten," Marshall said.

"It's hard to say when it comes to finals footy, the Bulldogs might step up another gear, but my opinion is Parra have more strike power and play a more exciting game."

Injured Eels five-eighth Mortimer (hip) was expected to have a light run on Wednesday but was not to train with the team.

Inu is expected to return on Friday from a hamstring injury.

Parramatta's training session was given the go-ahead after Sydney's massive morning dust storm cleared on Wednesday afternoon.

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