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NRL Finals | Free Preview | Eels v Raiders | 2022


Preview | Eels v Raiders | NRL Finals Week 2 | 2022

MrG’s preview notes, handicap and recommended plays for this NRL Finals clash

Finals Facts

  • 16 of the last 21 Premiers have won the comp off the back of finishing top 4, winning week one and having a week off into their Prelim final game (and then winning)
  • In 2021 Panthers lost week 1 to then go on and win the Premiership
  • 12 of last 14 Premiers were one of the Top 2 defensive sides that season – this year Panthers and Cowboys
  • 6 of the last 8 grand finalists who had played 4 weeks straight, have lost (Panthers went 4 weeks straight last season 2021)
  • No Origin or International Rep #7 or #6 – No Chance
    In the last 42 years 40 of the 42 Premiership winners had a rep (Origin or International) #7 or #6


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-3.5 Eels v Raiders

Ground: Parramatta

-6.5 market line

41.5 total points (market position)


Eels have won 4 of last 6 at home

Raiders have won 6 of last 10 head to head

At the Line Raiders have covered 10 of last 14 (71%) v Eels

At the Line Raiders have covered 21 of last 31 (68%) as a road / away underdog

At the Line Eels are only 7 from last 17 (40%) when Fav

At the Line Eels are only 3 from last 10 (33%) when Fav of -4.0 or more

Raiders have won their last 5 and 8 of their last 9

Raiders record this season when Fogarty has played is 10 and 4, win strike rate of 71%


The late news now is that Moses will play which I find somewhat surprising but he has been cleared by an independent doctor and will start. If he is feeling no ill effects form that heavy knock last week and is not too gun shy in the contest then his in and role is significant.

Looks a very good game with so many angles. The Eels went with the Panthers last week for the opening 20 or so minutes, and had a few shots at them but just couldn’t break their high quality scramble and defence, they then started to fade into the early second half and had no match for Nathan Cleary and then the loss of Moses for the last 20 or so was the final nail. Their mental composure and approach to this week will be interesting, especially if the Raiders can start strongly and go with them or we see any early Raiders points, having lost 6 of their last 8 finals games and their losing record in finals such a focus and talking point all around them – can they maintain their focus and stand up? What also comes into play here is that they have over the course of this season shown some inconsistencies in being up and down week after week, and losing games or playing poorly to expectation (and their poor record as a fav or at covering the line).

Technically if well exposed they have some longer term problems in defence down each edge, and once again Waqa Blake has been exposed for his issues under the high ball. The Raiders play a strong game through the middle but importantly Tapine and Papalii have a high quality off load game that then creates second phase play and helps break up the defence and or put them on the back foot and create some room. Their halves, two quality edge back rowers and then Timoko and Kris come into play down either edge, and its just the sort of attack build up that will trouble the Eels. 

Dylan Brown has been in quality form, he’ll need to take a leading role once again. His and Moses kicking game will be key, the Raiders do have errors in them, you’ll want to have them playing a lot of footy off their back end to try and expose this. The weakness for mine tho has been some of the bench depth and rotation, Cambpell-Gillard and Paulo work so well through the middle but this drops away significantly with impact and muscle through the middle 30 minutes of the game, while Jake Arthur’s role and value is questionable other then being a back up. The first 25 minutes is important, off the back of the obvious yardage that their two big middle guys will bring they need to use the room to bring their two edge running back rowers into play and open the raiders up, move them around and mount some points and confidence off which to then be playing with.

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Fogarty has been a huge for the Raiders since his return from injury and once getting his match fitness and confidence back, he is a high quality organiser and play director who also has a very good kicking game and these two traits have led to good direction for their big forward line up, some room to move for Wighton, and a game working off far better field position and then use of the ball.

I was against the Raiders last week, I expected more from the Storm but to their credit the Raiders started strongly, could smell some blood in the water with the Storm being there to be got and lifted as the game went on for a well deserved win. History again tells us that these teams who can get on a roll into this time of the season can build momentum and confidence and having won their last 5 and 9 of their last 9 clearly the Raiders have this roll. What is also opening up for them is they seem to keep getting the right team on the right week, the Eagles (48-6) and then Tigers (56-10) were both damaged goods but allowed them to be building this confidence and then the Storm last week who had run out of gas. If they were up against the Panthers or Rabbits or Roosters this week I’d find it very hard to see them compete, but you can only play what’s in front of you and how the draw unfolds and then take your chance – and that they are doing!

In handicapping the game I can’t rate the Eels at their full number with the question over what level Moses may play up to and for mine the questionable bench depth and rotation. At home and a full house certainly a major tick, but then significant question at the line as a fav and a fav of -4.0 or more, The Raiders keep building their rating week by week and I think are far closer in this game than the market position, I think +6.5 is generous, is over the key number of 6.0 and certainly longer than where I have the game marked. I also think the Raiders match up very well in this contest and their off load game, play down each edge and Fogarty’s kicking game put them right in the contest. I’m with the Raiders scoring an upset, 24-20



NRL Market Watch Podcast

Jimmy Smith (SEN) is joined by Tristan Merlehan (Topsport) and Gerard Condon (Reading The Play) to preview Week 2 of the NRL Finals Series with the Parramatta Eels looking to keep their season alive against Ricky’s Raiders while the Cronulla Sharks face the daunting task of taking on the South Sydney Rabbits on Saturday night at the new Moore Park Stadium.

Finals Podcast Preview Links Here

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