Match Preview: Eels v Panthers at Pepper Stadium

The Dyldam Parramatta Eels will take on the Penrith Panthers tonight at Pepper Stadium for their Round 12 clash and the Blue and Gold will be eager to return to the winner’s circle after back-to-back narrow defeats to the Warriors and Rabbitohs.

The Eels went down in a thriller at ANZ Stadium last week, with a defensive lapse in the final minutes of the game that saw the Rabbitohs take a two point lead, and they will be eager to get the two points and get their season back on track.

The Eels will enter this clash with plenty of confidence however, with stronger showings in their past two performances and signs that a victory is not far away. The Eels were competitive on the night against the Premiers and Head Coach Brad Arthur said his side has remained positive and knows that the tides will turn sooner rather than later.

Arthur has made a few changes to his Blue and Gold side that will take on the Panthers, recalling halfback Chris Sandow and Joseph Paulo on the bench.

Arthur has spoken about some of the changes earlier this week, picking a side that is salary cap compliant, and with the Blue and Gold currently facing an injury and unavailable list of 10 players, Arthur has named debutant Daniel Alvaro on the bench.

Alvaro is a hard running forward who has worked hard with the squad during the year and the 21 year old’s NRL debut is also a reward for his strong performances in the NSW Cup side this year.

The side will also see Will Hopoate back up from his NSW Origin duties on Wednesday night.

For the Panthers, who are coming off a bye and had no Origin representatives, the well rested side will enjoy playing at home.

They welcome back their preferred halves pairing of Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace (returning from a knee injury) along with a recall of Josh Mansour on the wing in place of George Jennings (fractured leg).

The Eels will be eager and determined to get the two points at the foot of the mountains, and whilst the Panthers have won the past two clashes at home, the Blue and Gold have won four of their past eight trips out west.

ROUND 12 TEAM LIST

Match Details: Dyldam Parramatta Eels v Penrith Panthers, Pepper Stadium. Kick off at 7:45pm

Televised: Channel Nine, Live, 7:30pm

The History: The Panthers have won the past two clashes at home however the Blue and Gold have won four of their past eight trips out west.

Eels Squad:

1. Reece Robinson 2. Semi Radradra 3. William Hopoate 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Ryan Morgan 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Danny Wicks 9. Nathan Peats 10. Tim Mannah 11. Manu Ma'u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Anthony Watmough

Interchange: 14. Junior Paulo 15. Joseph Paulo 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Pauli Pauli

Panthers Squad:

1. Matt Moylan 2. Josh Mansour 3. Waqa Blake 4. Dallin Watene Zelezniak 5. David Simmons 6. Jamie Soward 7. Peter Wallace 8. Nigel Plum 9. James Segeyaro 10. Sam McKendry 11. Lewis Brown 12. Isaah Yeo 13. Elijah Taylor

Interchange: 14. Bryce Cartwright 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Sika Manu 17. Regan Campbell-Gillard 18. Apisai Koroisau

Eels Dangers: Junior Paulo. The hulking 188cm, 118kg forward returned from a nine week suspension last week and was provided the opportunity to run on in the starting side and create early impact. The forward will be better for last weeks run and will be looking to put in another strong performance.

Fellow Eels forward Manu Ma’u has been in devastating form in 2015 and the hard-running second rower will be looking to add to his two tries this season.

Panthers Dangers: The spine. The Panthers welcome back their preferred halves pairing in Soward and Wallace along with their energetic hooker James Segayaro who has been in devastating form in 2015, leading the tackle break count for hookers this year with 23. Add fullback Matt Moylan to the mix, and the young talented footballer will enter the game with plenty of confidence after spending the past week with the NSW Origin set up.

Match Officials: Matt Cecchin & Gavin Morris; touch judges: David Ryan & Adam Reid; Video Referees: Shayne Hayne & Ben Galea.