Dyldam Parramatta Eels Head Coach Brad Arthur is expecting a dangerous Penrith Panthers side at Sunday afternoon’s Battle of the West at Pirtek Stadium.
While the Blue and Gold have been drawing attention for their impressive defensive record, conceding just 39 points in 4 games, Arthur is wary of an unpredictable Panthers’ attack.
“Sure, we’re happy with our defence but you’ve got to be able to do that week in, week out,” Arthur said.
“We’re going to be tested this week. Every team has their own style, and this team really likes to move the ball around, and they ask plenty of questions of you.”
“They’ll back their skill level, they like to push a pass. I heard Anthony [Griffin] during the week say that they need to be better with their completions, but I’m sure that they won’t shut up shop, and they’ll still play plenty of football because that’s their strength.”
“That’s where they’re dangerous: they’re going to get a few offloads away on us and we have to make sure we don’t go to sleep.”
Penrith coach Anthony Griffin has named fullback Matt Moylan to make his return from injury, and Arthur says the fullback adds an extra spark to the Panthers’ back three.
“[He] gives them that bit of extra X factor and he’s really good returning the ball,” Arthur said.
“That’s another strength of theirs, with their back three.”
With club Captain Tim Mannah ruled out for three weeks with a fractured scapula, Arthur says the decision on a replacement forward for Sunday’s clash was relatively simple.
“Peni Terepo didn’t play last week so he’ll come straight back in,” Arthur said.
“And I suppose it made my job a little bit easier in that I didn’t have to drop someone this week. The strength in our side at the moment is our depth.”
Now, the Head Coach is keen to have the Blue and Gold Army turn out to back the Eels against the Western Sydney rivals on Sunday afternoon.
“Have we hit the 20,000-mark yet?”
“It’d be great to try and get that, we need our fans to come along and support us.”
The Eels kick off against the Penrith Panthers at 4pm on Sunday, April 3 at Pirtek Stadium for the Eels’ Salute to Service Round. Click through for all the game day info!