Eels, Roosters ready for game of year - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels, Roosters ready for game of year

By David Beniuk 29/07/2010 06:45:22 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta believe they'll be the more desperate side, the Sydney Roosters says it's their "biggest test yet" - either way, it promises to be one of the NRL games of the year.

The league's two form sides will clash in what is expected to be a sell-out at Parramatta Stadium and has been unusually scheduled as the 5.30pm game on Saturday.

The Roosters have won four straight games and resurgent Parramatta three, but the Eels still sit outside the top eight and know they could slip further off the pace with a loss.

"That's definitely a major force driving us," Eels forward Ben Smith told reporters on Thursday.

"People are talking us up and complimenting us and patting us on the back where we're still out of the top eight and a loss here can drop us four points back out."

Roosters counterpart Nate Myles said character-building victories over Brisbane, Canterbury and South Sydney would fade in comparison to the test awaiting the side this weekend.

"What's happened so far in the year has sort of been thrown out the back door, everyone wants to look at how everyone's form is going into the finals," he said.

"I think it's going to be our biggest test so far."

Smith said the Jarryd Hayne-inspired Eels had received a "kick up the arse" which had ignited their season, along with hopes of a charge similar to last year's all the way to the grand final.

"I think we just realise where we are on the ladder and where we need to be and what we have to do to get there," Smith said.

"All year we've realised the team that we have and the potential we've had to hopefully go one better than last year, but we were consistently inconsistent at the start of the year.

"We really knew we had to pull our fingers out, we've got a quality team and we know it's no good having a good line-up on paper, you've got to go out there and put it together."

He said it had become a joke among Eels players that Hayne only turns up after the State of Origin series is over.

"I don't know if it's the release of the pressure from rep football and he can just take a bit more control but he just seems a lot more at ease, just a bit more relaxed and that's just showing on the football field," Smith said.

Myles said Hayne had featured prominently at Roosters video sessions this week.

"We obviously did video and did a fair bit on him but I think people underestimate the effort that their forwards do," Myles said.

"We've got to shut down those players before we get to Hayne because he's not the one taking the metres off a tap or a kick-off."

Hayne's battle with Roosters go-to man Todd Carney will be enthralling, but Myles said there was no over-reliance on their No.6.

"We're pretty fortunate in the fact we do have a lot of skilful players, we can sort of go to a few different people, we don't have to go to Todd all the time," he said.

Parramatta and the Roosters will play for the Jack Gibson Cup, named after the late premiership-winning coach of both clubs, and fans will be able to donate to the Gibson family's choice of charities, the Schizophrenia Research Institute.

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