Sport Eels' facing make-or-break NRL run
NRL stars are being sent into a Queensland COVID 'bubble'. Here's how it will work
Hundreds of NRL players and their families are relocating to Queensland this week to escape Sydney's COVID-19 outbreak. For several weeks, they'll live in a "bubble" — here's how it will work.From Wednesday, 12 NRL teams and their support crews will move to "hubs" around the state for the next two months of the 2021 season.
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has no doubt if his NRL team can finish inside the competition's top four they'll have earned the right to that lofty position.
The Eels' grip on fourth spot is in jeopardy after a bruising encounter with Canberra on the Gold Coast on Thursday ended in a 12-10 defeat.
That loss means the Sydney Roosters can close within a game of Parramatta this weekend before both teams face each other next week.
After the Roosters clash, Parramatta face four of the top six in their final five fixtures of the home-and-away campaign including back-to-back matches against Melbourne and Penrith in the final two rounds.
Two NRL double-headers to start Qld hub
Gold Coast and Brisbane will host double-headers as NRL players settle into hub life in southeast Queensland.League bosses have unveiled an updated draw for this weekend's games with match-ups and scheduling times to remain the same.
It's a daunting run home that Arthur acknowledges will test how realistic the Eels' ambitions of a deep finals run in 2021 are.
"Depending on where we get to, we're going to have to earn every bit of it," Arthur said.
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Adding to Arthur's concern is the fitness of halfback Mitchell Moses.
Having suffered a fracture in his back during his State of Origin debut for NSW last week, Moses has missed the Eels' past two fixtures.
The 26-year-old could make a return as early as next weekend's mouth-watering clash with the Roosters but Arthur said there's still plenty of ground to cover before that decision is made.
"It might be a week or two, but it's hard to say," Arthur said.
"It could improve overnight.
"We'll just have to wait until next week when he runs and then we'll see from there."
The Eels are also sweating on the fitness of interchange forward Marata Niukore, who suffered a meniscus injury in his right knee in the first half of the loss to the Raiders.
Arthur said it was unclear how severe the 24-year-old's injury was.
Eels title hopes take hit in Roosters loss .
Parramatta's hopes of finishing in the top four have taken a huge hit after a 28-0 loss to Sydney Roosters in Mackay on Thursday night.The Eels are out of form and could ultimately finish the regular season as low as sixth, having lost two of their past three games and with a nightmare run home to the finals.