The Eels are through to their first preliminary final since 2009 but it’s a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire as they prepare for a stinking hot night in Townsville.
Conditions were pretty warm in Sydney on Friday ahead of the game against Canberra but it’s nothing compared to what they’ll experience in North Queensland with the early forecast predicting tops of 29 degrees and a minimum of 21 for next week’s game.
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The Eels haven’t played at Queensland Country Bank Stadium with their most recent match up north a 17-10 loss in 2019.
The stats just get worse with Parramatta winning two of its past 14 matches in Townsville, while they were smashed in Darwin earlier this season where it was also very hot.
“I hate it, to be honest,” five-eighth Dylan Brown said of the heat.
“I’ve never been to Townsville before so it’s exciting. I’ve heard it’s a bit like Darwin, but just not as bad. It’ll be interesting playing up there.
“The Darwin game was weird because a few of us actually got sick before the game. That wasn’t an excuse because it was a bad performance by us and they pumped us. If anything, we’ll hopefully go up there and beat them.”
The Cowboys will be fresh after the week off but the Eels will be full of confidence following their 40-4 drubbing of the Raiders with Brown, Mitch Moses and Clint Gutherson all playing starring roles.
Brown was critical of his own performance against Penrith in week one of the finals, giving himself a four out of 10 for failing to get his hands on the ball.
But he was one of Parramatta’s best on Friday night, finishing the game with 161 meters – just nine fewer than Canberra’s Joseph Tapine and Josh Papalii combined.
“It was better. I was happier with what I was doing,” he said.
“I was a lot more involved and that’s something Mitch and ‘Gutho’ also have to do for us to be successful. We all linked up really well.
“If you looked at the stats last week compared to this week, our touches would have been way up.”
Brown was credited with one try to assist on Friday, but everyone at the stadium and watching on television thought it shouldn’t have been two after a perfectly legitimate pass to Gutherson was somehow ruled forward by Ashley Klein.
“I think he’s got to double check that because it was fine,” he said.
“It was flat as.”
Originally published as ‘I hate it’: The thing Dylan Brown and the Eels must overcome ahead of preliminary final