Round 18: NRL Match Preview

This Saturday the 13th of July will see the Blue and Gold Army out in full force for the home game, with all three grades playing on Parramatta soil.


As part of the NAIDOC week celebrations, players and fans will be bringing an extra element of support for the rich culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including some of Parramattas key players.


To honour his heritage Luke Kelly will be playing in the specially designed shoes that have been painted by a former player in the Indigenous style of art.


Click here to see the boots Luke Kelly will be wearing for NAIDOC Week.


The short turnaround after playing against the Manly Sea Eagles on Monday has left the Pirtek Parramatta Eels hungry for a victory against the Penrith Panthers.


It has been eleven weeks since the Eels conceded 44-12 against the Panthers in Round 7. The long wait has seen a change of season since the two teams last met at Centrebet Stadium in Penrith. Playing this weekend on home ground will bolster the Parramatta players for the continued Battle of the West.


The history between the clubs is long, with 52 Eels victories out of 86 total matches. Of the past 10 clashes, the Panthers have won 6 and are currently number 7 on the NRL ladder, a place they have fought for since they last met the Eels from a lower position on the ladder.


Still recovering from the hamstring injury that has ruled him out of State of Origin III, fullback Jarryd Hayne will be missed in this Saturdays game. The team will also be missing Mitchell Allgood who is out for two weeks after being charged with a grade three striking offence from Round 17.


The Eels can look forward to the long-awaited return of Willie Tonga who has been kept out of playing this season due to injury. Tonga brings a fresh injection of talent and years of experience to the field and will be a welcome sight for the loyal Parramatta supporters.


Eels look out for: The notorious kicking strength of halfback Luke Walsh as well as the solid form of the Panthers back row with young players David Simmons, Matt Moylan and James Roberts. The strength of props Tim Grant and Nigel Plum provides a formidable challenge.


Panthers to look out for: Tim Mannah and Fuifui Moimoi in both size and strength will be putting up a heavy force, backed by the threat of Blue and Gold Army favourite, Reni Maitua. Willie Tonga will be the player to look out for, bringing a fresh set of eyes to the Parramatta team.


Kick-off is at 5.30pm at Parramatta Stadium. Click here to buy tickets to the game nd cheer the Eels on!