Eels face giant task with returning Taylor - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels face giant task with returning Taylor

By Angela Habashy 05/08/2011 06:06:02 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta face a giant task against South Sydney on Monday with returning colossus Dave Taylor standing in their way as they attempt to break a three-game NRL losing streak.

The Queensland second rower is back for the clash at ANZ Stadium after a five-game suspension, and has signalled his intention to unleash following his long and frustrating stint on the sidelines.

Add to that the red-hot form of Chris Sandow and Parramatta know they have their work cut out against a Souths side riding high after their incredible come-from-behind win over reigning premiers St George Illawarra on Sunday.

"We're very mindful that they've got the ability to be able to do that to any side, so we're preparing for that this week, the guys are ready for that," Eels coach Stephen Kearney said on Friday.

With Sandow joining Parramatta's ranks next season, Kearney denied he'll have half an eye on the Rabbits halfback during the match.

"No I'm not worried about Chris this year," Kearney said.

"He's an integral part of their side, so we've just got to make sure we get our game in order and hopefully Chris has an off night."

But Kearney revealed Sandow could have a fight on his hands in the halves next season with Daniel Mortimer, Jarryd Hayne and Ben Roberts all vying for spots.

Mortimer, who has been playing for Eels feeder club Wentworthville in the NSW Cup, officially notified Parramatta this week he will see out the rest of his contract with them and Kearney believes he could challenge Sandow for the No.7 jersey.

With Mortimer earning a reported $220,000 a season through until 2013, the Eels will be keen to get as much out of him as possible.

"I think that certainly will be the case," Kearney said.

"I know young Daniel in the sense of his character so I'm sure he will be (vying for the five-eighth position).

"So that's going to be a challenge for Chris, but I'll worry about that next year."

Parramatta's Casey McGuire, who will start at halfback for the clash, has identified Taylor as the man to watch on Monday night and charged centre Ben Smith with the responsibility of stopping the big man.

"I think Benny Smith might have to take that role," he said.

"They've got some very big guys on our side (of the field) with Greg Inglis there too, so it's going to be a tough job.

"He's (Taylor) a very dangerous player he's got great ball skills for a big bloke and runs very hard so he's going to be hard to stop but we'll do our best."

The Eels suffered two consecutive one-point losses to Canterbury and Penrith then went down in a heartbreaking defeat to Melbourne on Monday after leading 18-0, and McGuire knows against Souths "close enough isn't good enough".

"The last three weeks have been very disappointing, we were close enough to win those games.

"I think we know we can compete with those good sides but we just haven't been able to get across the line, like with Melbourne last week."

They will be without halfback Jeff Robson, who played his last game for the club after suffering a fractured cheekbone in the loss to Melbourne.

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