The Dyldam Parramatta Eels side has been named to take on the Penrith Panthers in the club’s final trial match leading into the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership and the Blue and Gold will welcome back hooker Nathan Peats and Manu Ma’u along club debutant, Anthony Watmough.
The Eels have named a strong squad for the clash and Assistant Coach Steve Murphy was excited about seeing the Blue and Gold put their training into practice.
“It should be a quality hit out against a quality opposition,” Murphy said.
“We are playing against the Penrith Panthers on their home turf and they had a tremendous season last year and we are looking to see where we are at at the moment.”
“We just want to see us go about our work and apply the things we have put in practice during the pre-season. If we do that, we are confident against any opposition” he added.
The squad has changes from it’s previous trial against the Wests Tigers, welcoming hooker Nathan Peats and forward Manu Ma’u back into the side, and Murphy was keen on seeing the two returning to the footy field after they were ruled out through injury during the Eels 2014 campaign.
“There were 7-8 guys that didn’t play last weeks game. Manu Ma’u we are looking forward to seeing him back in action, Nathan Peats plays his first game and Anthony Watmough plays his first game for the club so there is some exciting opportunities there for us,” Murphy said of the inclusions.
The addition of Peats and Ma’u is a bonus for the Eels, with Murphy believing the two will have a real impact on the result in their return.
“Nathan is a competitor. His energy, the way he plays the game, it rubs off on others. We sorely missed him in the back end of last season and we are hopeful he gets through the match unscathed leading into round one” Murphy said.
“When Manu broke his arm, that really hurt us last year and it will be good to see him perform, and I am sure he is keen on getting out there and getting amongst it,” he added.
Whilst the last week’s trial against the Wests Tigers did not return a winning result on the scoreboard, Murphy was confident that it would be different this weekend as long as the Blue and Gold were ready for the content.
“I thought we were good for long periods of time last week, but we couldn’t capitalise on our field position and our dominance in the first half. In the second half, we really fell away with our physicality and we will need to be very physical against a strong pack this week,” Murphy said.
“If we can hold the middle and hold them from rolling forward, I think we will make good decisions out wide and hopefully come away with a good result” he added.
The Panthers have named a strong side for the clash, and Murphy knows of their dangers, however, the Eels will be focused on their own game.
“Matt Moylan is a class player and Jamie Soward had the year of his life last year. They are strong right across the board with guys that can offload through the middle” he said.
“They have threats all over the place so we can’t be too focused on them at the moment, it is a trial game and we have to be focused on what Parramatta are doing and that’s what we will endeavour to do this week.”