IT’S finals time and footy fever are sweeping the Parramatta community.
You can feel the ”eelectricity” as Parramatta start their 2020 NRL finals campaign against Melbourne on Saturday, October 3, versus the Melbourne Storm, at Suncorp Stadium Brisbane, at 7.50 pm.
The third-placed Eels tackle second-placed Melbourne, with the winner granted a week off and a berth into the grand final qualifier in a fortnight’s time.
Under the NRL top 8 format, teams that finish in the top four, get two chances. They cannot be eliminated in the opening week of the finals.
Eels coach Brad Arthur has steered his team to back-to-back finals series.
In the first 12 weeks of this year’s 20 round competition, Arthur’s men played with soldier-like precision and fluency.
The past eight weeks, their form has been up and down, it is fair to say. Ironically, it was the Storm that ended their 2019 finals run thumping them 32-0 nil at AAMI Park in September 2019.
But now it’s a different scenario. A different season, new ball game.
The Eels, while their form the past month hasn’t been scintillating, a grafting win over Wests Tigers last Saturday night at Bankwest Stadium, secured the third spot.
Skilled halfback Mitchell Moses, inspirational fullback and skipper Clint Gutherson, one of the real stars of the NRL this year, together, with a robust and powerful pack of forwards, led by energetic and aggressive lock Nathan Brown, head to Brisbane on Saturday night, and control their own destiny.
A loss will see the Eels play the winner of the elimination final between Souths and Newcastle, in week two of the finals, on the weekend of October 9-10-11, perhaps at Bankwest Stadium, as the highest-ranked loser in week one of the finals, gets to host a home final under the NRL rules.
Victory for the Eels grants them a week off, and then just one win from a grand finale.
For Eels footy fanatics, it’s time to ”bring it on.”
The Match kick-off on Saturday night is 7.40 pm.