The Parramatta Eels take on the Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium in Round Eight of the NRL Telstra Premiership on Saturday 22 April.
Previewing the game thanks to betting.club, Blue & Gold Assistant Coach Pete Gentle says the Eels would of received a confidence boost last week, but there are still plenty of areas to improve, in particular the defence and work done in the middle.
“It was a confidence boosting win last week, but that is probably all it was. There are a lot of areas we need to be better because defensively we were very poor.” Gentle said.
“We have put a fair bit of work into that this week.”
“It’s the soft tries and the softness of the tries. Through our middle, we are getting marched down the field, and we need to be a lot better this week against a big Penrith pack.”
The Panthers always provide tough opponents in the Battle of the West, and despite their form entering the clash, Gentle knows they will be a tough opposition.
“It is always a big clash and it always means a little bit more to get one over your neighbour.” Gentle said.
“We are really looking forward to it. We sort of kick started our season again last week and now we have to go on with it.”
“It’s only six weeks ago they were competition favourites so the personnel hasn’t really changed there and they are very dangerous.” He added.
“We know that, we are aware of it, and they have strike all across the field but we know what we have to do.”
Both sides will be buoyed by the inclusions of Bryce Cartwright and Kenny Edwards respectively, and Gentle said both players are big x-factors in their respective sides.
“Bryce is a talent isn’t he. He rarely goes to ground with the ball. He has been out for a while, he was named last week to play against Cronulla, but didn’t play, so if he plays we are prepared for him.” Gentle said.
“You talk about Bryce Cartwright coming in for Penrith, Kenny is just as important player to us, and I think you will see that in the coming weeks just how important he is to us.” Gentle added.
“We are really welcoming him back into the team.”
“Kenny has worked hard with our staff during the time he has been away from the game and we expect him to play good minutes for us. He is a very, very clever football player and he will give us that bit of an X-factor.”
The Eels kick off this afternoon against the Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium, kick off at 3pm.