Phil Gould on the much anticipated return of Ben Barba when Bulldogs face South Sydney on Friday.
Phil Mitchell writes: A nine-day turnaround between rounds couldn’t have come at a better time for the Roosters. The players worked themselves to a standstill in an incredible defensive display against the Broncos last Saturday. The Roosters were forced to make 402 tackles – more than any other team in round three – as they held an opposition scoreless for the first time in five years. The tricolours would have been nursing plenty of bumps and bruises after such a gruelling effort but should be raring to go by Monday.
After playing last Friday night, the Eels have also had an extended break. Plenty of soul searching would have been done after their lame effort against the Tigers, especially in the first half. Parramatta had shown plenty of promise in the opening two rounds but reverted to bad habits at Leichhardt Oval. Co-captain Jarryd Hayne got caught up in a running battle with the referees and will need to keep his discipline in check on Monday night.
AAP writes: The Roosters produced a defensive display for the ages to hold out Brisbane 8-0 last week. However, they meet a Parramatta side that have plenty of flair in Jarryd Hayne and Chris Sandow.
Trent Robinson's side are yet to click in attack, but have still managed to win their past two matches. The Eels make too many errors to be considered finals material, but they have strikepower out wide in Ken Sio and Jacob Loko.
The Roosters' huge forward pack will be a big concern to Ricky Stuart.
Key: Sonny Bill Williams is getting better with each game for the Roosters and a truly stand-out performance is not far away. Can this be the week?
ROOSTERS: Anthony Minichiello (capt), Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Boyd Cordner, Sonny Bill Williams, Frank-Paul Nuuausala. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Martin Kennedy, Mitchell Aubusson, Aidan Guerra, Kane Evans (one to be omitted).
EELS: Jarryd Hayne (capt), Ken Sio, Ryan Morgan, Jacob Loko, Vai Toutai, Luke Kelly, Chris Sandow, Mitch Allgood, Matt Keating, Tim Mannah, Reni Maitua (capt), Ben Smith, Joseph Paulo. Interchange: Ben Roberts, Darcy Lussick, Fuifui Moimoi, Kelepi Tanginoa.