It's only round two but the Titans have to make a statement on home turf after going down to the Raiders last week.
They looked like they were in for a hiding at half-time but a couple of positional changes worked in their favour and rookie coach Justin Holbrook will be looking to build on what was a promising second-half performance.
Titans fans endured a miserable 2019 campaign and might quickly lose interest in 2020 if they don't like what they see on Sunday night.
The Eels opened their 2020 campaign with a win over the Bulldogs but had to fight every inch of the way and will be looking to improve in a few areas against the Titans.
Titans: Tyrone Peachey has been dropped to the bench, with Brian Kelly getting the nod to start in the centres. The other change was Moeaki Fotuaika taking Jaiman Jolliffe's place on the bench. AJ Brimson (back) and Shannon Boyd (shoulder) were a chance to play after being initially named in the squad but the pair was trimmed from the reserves on Saturday. Jolliffe and Sam Stone were the last two cut an hour before kick-off.
Eels: Coach Brad Arthur would've been pleased to see none of his players picked up any injuries in the bruising round one clash with the Bulldogs. There were no changes to his starting 17 as of Saturday evening, with Ray Stone and Oregon Kaufusi cut from the reserves. David Gower and George Jennings were omitted an hour before kick-off.
Ash Taylor had some bright moments against the Raiders but probably wasn't involved enough in the first half when the game got away from the Titans. Mitch Moses wasn't able to put his stamp on the game against the Bulldogs in the manner he would've liked and will be keen for an improved showing against Taylor.
Where it'll be won and lost
The battle of the halves could be decisive, while Holbrook has to give Tyrone Peachey the green light to trust his instincts and take what the defence gives him. The Titans have to match Parra up front and look for Phil Sami to create space with his lethal left step. The Eels will be looking for big wingers Blake Ferguson and Maika Sivo to get involved as often as possible, while speedy centres Michael Jennings and Waqa Blake have to be closely marked.
Brett Kimmorley says
I didn't see anything from the Titans last week that suggested much has changed. They missed a lot of tackles, and I think once you highlight that on a video Parramatta can take advantage. The Eels were poor as well in round one, but they'll have a higher completion rate this game I imagine. If they earn the right to play football, I think they've got plenty of points in them. Eels by 14.
Mitch Moses had a perfect day with the boot in last year's only game between the Eels and Titans, kicking six from six. Parra led 12-6 at half-time in that round 22 clash and overpowered the home team after the break to prevail 36-12. Mid-season recruit Waqa Blake scored twice for the Eels.
And another thing…
Justin Holbrook is the Titans' seventh coach since the club joined the NRL in 2007. John Cartwright was in charge from 2007-14, followed by Neil Henry (2014-17). Garth Brennan was at the helm in 2018 and a portion of 2019, while Craig Hodges (2017, '19), Luke Burt ('19) and Terry Matterson ('17) have all had short stints as interim coaches.