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Parramatta Eels vs St George Illawarra Dragons Tips - Dragons to keep it close

Last updated: 05 Aug 2023
Jeremy Darke 05 Aug 2023
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  • Parramatta Eels vs St George Dragons predictions for Sunday's NRL game
  • The Dragons’ left side defence has conceded 50 tries this season, which is the most by any team.
  • Can the Eels keep their finals hopes alive?
Parramatta Eels vs St George Dragons
Dylan Brown Returns (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Parramatta Eels vs St George Illawarra Dragons Tips

The Parramatta Eels will be looking to stay in touch with the top 8 with a victory over the St George Dragons. Meanwhile, the Dragons are trying to scrape together one more victory which would almost ensure their safety from the wooden spoon in 2023.

The bookies expect that Parra will get the win comfortably, but I disagree and can see this game being a closer fight, so I like the 15.5 point start for the Dragons as underdogs. I also expect them not to have any trouble scoring more than 15.5 points against the Eels who have been struggling defensively of late.

The Dragons left defence is the worst in the NRL so a Will Penisini try is on the cards.

  • The Dragons have lost by a margin of 10 points or less in 11 of their 14 defeats in 2023.
  • The Dragons have scored over 15.5 points in all but 3 matches in 2023.
  • The Eels have conceded at least 20 points in their last 5 games.
  • The Dragons left side defence is the worst in the league conceding 55% of the team’s tries.

Head to Head 

The Eels and Dragons met just once last season with the Eels getting up comfortably 48-14 after starting as 10.5 point favourites with the bookmakers.

The Dragons had won the two games against the Eels prior to their meeting in 2022, however, Parramatta have won three of the past five in the head-to-head battle. 

Parramatta Eels Form

Since going on a five-game winning streak to make their way into the top 8, Parramatta have now won one of their last four games. However, their three losses did come at hands of three top 8 teams in Melbourne, North Queensland and New Zealand. 

The return of Dylan Brown will certainly boost the Eels against the Dragons this week, although it is adjustments to their defence that need to be looked at after conceding an average of 35 points in their last 4 games.

Parramatta Eels Team News

Star playmaker Dylan Brown is returning from suspension and will take over the No.6 position, replacing Daejarn Asi. 

Ryan Matterson will now start in the backrow, and Andrew Davey will move to the bench. 

Brendan Hands has been dropped from the 17, with Joey Lussick being preferred as the starting No.9. 

Waqa Blake will make way on the wing for Isaac Lumelume. Wiremu Greig's return from injury means he will be part of the interchange rotation, alongside Makahesi Makatoa.

Parramatta Eels Team List

1. Clint Gutherson
2. Isaac Lumelume
3. Will Penisini
4. Bailey Simonsson
5. Sean Russell
6. Dylan Brown
7. Mitchell Moses
8. Joe Ofahengaue
9. Joey Lussick
10. Junior Paulo
11. Ryan Matterson
12. Bryce Cartwright
13. J'maine Hopgood


14. Luca Moretti
15. Andrew Davey
16. Wiremu Greig
17. Makahesi Makatoa


18. Brendan Hands
19. Arthur Miller-Stephen
20. Ofahiki Ogden
21. Daejarn Asi
​​​​​​​22. Jack Murchie

St George Illawarra Dragons Form

St George almost snatched victory against Manly last week, going down 24-18 at WIN Stadium.

It has been the story of the Dragon’s season really, losing by 10 points or less in 11 of their 14 defeats.

The Dragons just don’t know how to get a victory and have lost the winning culture in the club.

St George Illawarra Dragons Team News

Moses Suli has been ruled out against Parramatta with a calf injury, replaced in the line-up by Jack Bird.

Jack de Belin was unsuccessful at the NRL judiciary, with rookie Ryan Couchman the likely replacement in the 17 after the experienced lock-forward was rubbed out for a month.  

St George Illawarra Dragons Team List

1. Tyrell Sloan 
2. Mat Feagai
3. Moses Suli
4. Zac Lomax
5. Mikaele Ravalawa
6. Talatau Amone
7. Ben Hunt
8. Francis Molo
9. Jacob Liddle
10. Blake Lawrie
11. Billy Burns
12. Dan Russell
13. Jack de Belin


14. Connor Muhleisen
15. Michael Molo
16. Toby Couchman
17. Zane Musgrove


18. Ryan Couchman 
19. Sione Finau
20. Jack Bird
21. Max Feagai
​​​​​​​22. Ben Murdoch-Masila


The Dragons will put up a fight against the Eels and will cover the 15.5 points as underdogs. St George will also score over 15 points in the game, which will help keep this one close. Will Penisini is sure to cross the line going up against a horrid Dragons right defence.
Best Bet: St George +15.5 Handicap Line @48/49 at picklebet - 3 Units
Value Bet: St George Over 15.5 Team Points @8/9 at Topsport - 2 Units
Anytime Tryscorer Tip: Will Penisini Anytime Tryscorer @8/5 at Neds - 1 Unit
First Tryscorer Tip: Will Penisini First Tryscorer @13/1 at Neds - 1 Unit
St George +15.5
Handicap Line
@48/49 - 3 Units
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Team Points
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Will Penisini
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@8/5 - 1 Unit
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Will Penisini
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Parramatta Eels v St George/Illawarra Dragons