How Eels might have unlocked 'best chance' at title

2 weeks ago 15
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The Parramatta Eels are in an excellent position to win the 2021 NRL Premiership from fifth spot on the ladder, according to Phil Gould and Paul Gallen.

The final round of the regular season is this weekend, and like a few top teams, Eels coach Brad Arthur will rest some of their big names against their opponents (Penrith) despite a top four spot still technically alive.

The Eels won't end the season lower than sixth on the NRL ladder, however if Manly in fourth lose to North Queensland, and Parramatta win, they could leap-frog the Sea Eagles into fourth.

Both Gould and Gallen believe Manly will finish the season in fourth, behind the Storm, Panthers and Rabbitohs, with the Eels in fifth and the Roosters, Knights and Sharks making up the remainder of the top eight.

NRL Highlights: The Eels upset the Storm in a thriller! - Round 24

Though the top four is traditionally the goal for teams eyeing the NRL grand final, sitting in fifth for the Eels might actually be better for them this season.

"If you're in fourth position, you get a second chance. If you're in fifth position you get knocked out if you lose. If I was in fifth position, I wouldn't be scared of anything that runs eighth," Gould said on Nine's 100% Footy.

"It means you have to play an extra game, and then you're playing a losing team out of the top four.

"I think that's the best chance of them winning a Premiership - it is to rest players this weekend and then go into their semi-final against the eighth team build up confidence and beat a team that's just coming off a loss in the finals.

"History says you're not going to win it from outside the top four, but that's the Eels' best chance."

Clint Gutherson and Mitchell Moses of the Eels are seen enjoying their victory (Getty)

Gallen agreed that though Parramatta would have to play an extra game, it would arguably put them in a better position of advancing.

"You're confident because you've won, you're playing a losing team that have hopefully played the Melbourne Storm and have just been beat up," he said.

"I think it's better for the Eels."

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