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Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys Tips & Preview - Eels to shock Cowboys without their Origin stars

Last updated: 25 May 2023
Ryan Tucker 25 May 2023
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  • Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys predictions for Friday’s NRL game (20:00 AEST)
  • The Cowboys have covered only 4 of 12 games this year
  • What will the Cowboys defence look like without their Origin stars?
Parramatta Eels (Getty Images)

Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys Predictions

Two teams that held high expectations coming into the season but occupy spots 13 and 14 on the ladder respectively. 
  • Parramatta Eels vs North Queensland Cowboys Predictions
  • Head to Head 
  • Parramatta Eels Form
  • Parramatta Eels Team News
  • Parramatta Eels Team List
  • North Queensland Cowboys Form
  • North Queensland Cowboys Team News
  • North Queensland Cowboys Team List

Though not completely out of the race the loser of this game will lose touch of the top 8 whilst the winner will be knocking on the door of multiple teams. 

My model has this game going over and the Eels covering the large line. With a host of stars missing I have trouble seeing how the Cowboys make up the difference.

  • Parramatta Eels have covered the spread in their last 2 home games as favourites.
  • 11 of Maika Sivo’s 14 tries this season have been scored in the second half of games.
  • North Queensland Cowboys have lost 4 matches in a row outside of QLD.
  • North Queensland Cowboys have conceded 43% of their tries in 2023 down the right side. 

Head to Head 

Parramatta and North Queensland shared the spoils last year with both teams winning a game each in their two match-ups. The Eels though with the more important of the wins knocking the Cowboys out of the finals.

Excluding finals games these teams have played each other once a year since 2019 with the record standing at 2-2. Interestingly the overall head to head between the Eels and Cowboys is 21-21 with 1 drawn game.

Parramatta Eels Form

Parramatta snapped a two game losing streak in round 12 beating league leaders South Sydney with a comprehensive attacking display 36-16. 

The Eels scored early and never looked back, dominating possession and field position for the majority of the match. 

Parramatta amassed 1936 run metres in the game on the back of solid kick returns by the back three.

Parramatta Eels Team News

The Eels are relatively unaffected by Origin losing only Junior Paulo to the Blues team. But two key injuries to back rowers Ryan Matterson and Andrew Davey sees a reshuffle in the 17 bringing mid-season recruit Joe Ofahengaue and Matt Doorey into the line up.

Luca Moretti has been named to make his NRL debut off the bench.

Parramatta Eels Team List

1. Clint Gutherson
2. Maika Sivo
3. Will Penisini
4. Bailey Simonsson
5. Sean Russell
6. Dylan Brown
7. Mitchell Moses
8. Wiremu Greig
9. Josh Hodgson
10. Joe Ofahengaue
11. Bryce Cartwright
12. Matt Doorey
13. J'maine Hopgood


14. Ofahiki Ogden
15. Brendan Hands
16. Luca Moretti
17. Makahesi Makatoa


18. Daejarn Asi
19. Haze Dunster
20. Ky Rodwell
21. Jack Murchie
22. Isaac Lumelume

North Queensland Cowboys Form

The Cowboys were on a roll beating Sydney Roosters and St George in consecutive games in rounds 10 and 11. 

Round 12 though was a different story and the question could be asked if anyone even turned up to Leichardt Oval in what was an absolutely dismal performance against the Tigers. 

North Queensland allowed the Tigers to post their best ever score conceding a total of 66 points in the game.

The Cowboys were only in possession for a total of 18 minutes which is one of the lowest numbers of the NRL era. 

North Queensland Cowboys Team News

The Cowboys have been hit hard by Origin selection despite the teams poor form. A total of four players will be away on state duties forcing changes across multiple positions. 

Valentine Holmes and Murray Taulagi are replaced in their respective positions by Zac Laybutt and Robert Derby who are both making their debut. Tom Dearden is replaced at five-eighth by Ben Hampton.

Reuben Cotter is replaced by Griffin Neame who makes an early return from a throat injury earlier in the season.

Jake Granville has been named to start at lock but the inclusion of Jason Taumalolo on the bench hints that he may be included in the team at the 11th hour.

North Queensland Cowboys Team List

1. Scott Drinkwater
2. Kyle Feldt
3. Zac Laybutt
4. Peta Hiku
5. Robert Derby
6. Ben Hampton
7. Chad Townsend
8. Jordan McLean
9. Reece Robson
10. Coen Hess
11. Luciano Leilua
12. Heilum Luki
13. Jake Granville 


14. Jack Gosiewski
15. Kulikefu Finefeuiaki
16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
17. Griffin Neame


18. Mitch Dunn
19. Brendan Elliot
20. Sam McIntyre
21. Thomas Duffy
22. Jason Taumalolo


What the Cowboys have lacked this season is belief in their defence. Without a host of stars I don’t see it getting any better this week. The Eels will most definitely target the debutants in the centres and rack up enough points to push this total over. 

Sivo brought us gold back in round 11 so I'm going back to the well and backing him for a second half try.

Best Bet: Parramatta -14.5 Handicap Line @9/10 at bet365 - 3 Units
Value Bet: Over 44.5 Total Points @11/12 at Grosvenor Sports - 2 Units
Second Half Tryscorer: Maika Sivo Second Half Tryscorer @5/4 at Star Sports - 1 Unit
Parramatta -14.5
Handicap Line
@9/10 - 3 Units
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