NYC Kick-off: 3.10pm
NRL Kick-off: 5.30pm
The Dyldam Parramatta Eels return home to Pirtek Stadium this week to take on the Penrith Panthers in a hotly-contested “Battle of the West”, and it is guaranteed to be a hotly-contested encounter.
It comes after both teams were on either sides of tight, final-minute results in Round 3, adding extra incentive for both clubs to step up another level for the local derby.
A shattered Eels side went down on the buzzer thanks to a final-minute Sea Eagles try to Steve Matai, with the heartbreak obviously visible for all supporters.
By contrast, a conversion after the siren to young mountain man Matt Moylan saw the Panthers elated with their two point victory over the Bulldogs, continuing their strong start to the season.
The Blue and Gold have already expressed their commitment to going one better this week, with Head Coach Brad Arthur and several players saying “near enough isn’t good enough.”
“We’ve got a different mentality this year with a new squad and coach, and that’s the culture we’re starting to bring here now,” hooker Nathan Peats said.
“We’re aiming to win every week: that’s how it is and if we lose we’re disappointed.”
This week the Eels welcome back halfback Chris Sandow and winger Ken Sio into the side after being elevated for strong performances in NSW Cup; which the team says will add an extra spark knowing everyone’s spot in the team is based on form alone.
“It’s sort of mixed emotions, we’re all mates in this team, so when someone gets taken from the team and another comes in, we’re sad for the guy who leaves but excited for the one who gets the opportunity,” forward Mitch Allgood said.
“I think Chris’s actions show he’s ready to come back; he’s been training hard all pre-season, and all summer and is putting in good performances at Wentworthville, so he’s earned his spot in the team.”
The Panthers’ only change is bringing Peter Wallace back into the halves after he sat out Round 3 with a groin strain.