Eels v Panthers Match Preview
The Parramatta Eels will clash with the Penrith Panthers this Sunday 8 April at ANZ Stadium in Round Five of the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Meeting for the second time in five weeks, the Blue & Gold will be looking to reverse their round one result in the Battle of the West and register their first win of the season.
For the clash, Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur has just made one change to his 21 man squad for the clash with Kane Evans a chance of returning from injury, called onto an extended bench in place of Marata Niukore.
The Eels still have a host of talent on their injured list with Bevan French, Jarryd Hayne, Clint Gutherson and Brad Takairangi all unavailable, with the return dates expected over the next few weeks.
The Panthers on the other hand have registered three wins this season, including two nail biting come from behind victories and an inspired James Maloney performance that saw the Panthers come away with a victory over the Cowboys without young half Nathan Cleary.
For the Round Five clash, Head Coach Anthony Griffin has named the same seventeen that came away with a victory over the Cowboys, although Trent Merrin has been named at prop swapping with James Fisher-Harris who moves to lock.
Poor completion and ill-discipline from the Blue & Gold saw last week’s opposition build an early lead, however fluency in attack in the final 20 minutes of play showed promising signs for the Blue & Gold as they crossed for three tries late.
Arthur has demanded more from his Blue & Gold side over the past few weeks, with the team ranking 14th in completion rates and 13th in both line breaks and tries after four rounds.
The Eels have also conceded the fifth most penalties in the competition and have been awarded just 27 penalties – the fewest the competition so far.
Historically, the Eels hold a head to head advantage over the Panthers however the sides are split, two wins a piece, at ANZ Stadium. The Panthers clawed their way down from a 14 point deficit to come away 24-14 victors in Round One this season, however the Eels came away 18-12 winners at ANZ Stadium last year.
Kick off on Sunday afternoon is at 4:10pm. Click through for all the game day info.
Match Details: Parramatta Eels v Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium on Sunday 8 April. Kick off at 4:10pm.
Televised: Live on Nine, Fox League.
Live Radio: Triple M, ABC, Crocmedia
Head-to-head: Played 94; Eels 56 wins; Panthers 37 wins; 1 draw
Matches at venue: Played 2; Eels 2 wins
2017 results: Eels won 18-12 at ANZ Stadium in round 8
Points per game: Eels 9.5; Panthers 23.3
Points conceded per game: Eels 23; Panthers 15.5
Eels: 1 Will Smith, 2 George Jennings, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Kirisome Auva'a, 5 Josh Hoffman 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Kaysa Pritchard, 10 Tim Mannah (c), 11 Manu Ma'u, 15 Kenny Edwards, 13 Nathan Brown
Interchange: 12 Tepai Moeroa, 14 Beau Scott, 16 Peni Terepo, 17 Tony Williams 18 Cameron King, 19 Suaia Matagi, 20 David Gower, 21 Kane Evans
Panthers: 1 Dylan Edwards, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Waqa Blake, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Christian Crichton, 6 Tyrone Peachey, 7 James Maloney, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Peter Wallace (c), 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 James Fisher-Harris
Interchange: 14 Wayde Egan, 15 Corey Harawira-Naera, 16 Moses Leota, 17 James Tamou 18 Jarome Luai, 19 Nick Lui-Toso, 20 Sione Katoa, 21 Kaide Ellis
Match Officials: Referee: Henry Perenara; Assistant Referee: Jon Stone; Touch Judges: Michael Wise & Jeff Younis; Review Officials: Jared Maxwell and Luke Patten.