Match Preview - Panthers v Eels, Round One

The Parramatta Eels clash with the Penrith Panthers at Panthers Stadium on Sunday 17 March in Round One of the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership.

For the season opener, Blue & Gold Head Coach Brad Arthur has named a 21 man squad for the season opener with winger Maika Sivo and half Dylan Brown set to make their NRL debuts whilst Blake Ferguson and Shaun Lane will make their Parramatta Eels club debut.

Clinton Gutherson will be the fullback, Michael Jennings and Brad Takairangi the two centres and Mitch Moses at halfback to complete the Eels backline.

Daniel Alvaro and Tepai Moeroa will be the starting forwards, with young hooker Reed Mahoney at number 9, forwards Shaun Lane & Marata Niukore in the back row and Nathan Brown at lock.

Will Smith, Tim Mannah, Kane Evans and David Gower form a four man bench with Josh Hoffman, Oregon Kaufusi, Bevan French and Junior Paulo on the extended bench.

For the Panthers, Head Coach Ivan Cleary has named a strong line up that includes James Maloney and Nathan Cleary in the halves, Dylan Edwards at fullback and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, returning from injury on the wing.

With the absence of Viliame Kikau due to injury, Jack Hetherington has been called into the starting backrow alongside Isaah Yeo and James Fisher-Harris at lock. James Tamou and Reagan Campbell-Gillard are the starting props.

New signings Tyrell Fuimaono and Hame Sele join their squad, coming off the bench alongside hooker Wayde Egan and forward Moses Leota.

Historically, the Eels hold a slight head to head advantage with 56 wins from their 96 clashes however, the games are split 23 each at Panthers Stadium.

The Eels will be looking to kick start their season with a win and will be looking to right the wrongs of 2018 in a positive way. The Eels will remember the last time they met at Panthers Stadium, leading 14-0 after 30 minutes before the Panthers scored 24 points to come away with the two points.

However, the Blue & Gold will take plenty of confidence from a 20-0 pre-season trial victory over the mountain men just a fortnight ago.

For the Panthers, they will be determined to kick off their season with a victory in front of their loyal and passionate home crowd.

Their past few weeks has seen plenty of off-field distractions and controversy, so expect the Panthers players to unite and put in a resilient performance this weekend.

Both sides will be eager to claim bragging rights over their western rivals and start the season off on a winning note before meeting again in Round 11 at Bankwest Stadium on Thursday 23 May.

Kick off is at 4:05pm.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
    Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
  • Winger for Panthers is number 2 Josh Mansour
    Winger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
  • Centre for Panthers is number 3 Dean Whare
    Centre for Eels is number 3 Michael Jennings
  • Centre for Panthers is number 4 Waqa Blake
    Centre for Eels is number 4 Brad Takairangi
  • Winger for Panthers is number 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
    Winger for Eels is number 5 Blake Ferguson
  • Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 James Maloney
    Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
  • Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
    Halfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses

Forwards

  • Prop for Panthers is number 8 James Tamou
    Prop for Eels is number 8 Daniel Alvaro
  • Hooker for Panthers is number 14 Wayde Egan
    Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
  • Prop for Panthers is number 16 Moses Leota
    Prop for Eels is number 10 Tepai Moeroa
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 17 Hame Sele
    2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Isaah Yeo
    2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Marata Niukore
  • Lock for Panthers is number 13 James Fisher-Harris
    Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown

Interchange

  • Interchange for Panthers is number 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
    Interchange for Eels is number 14 Will Smith
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 11 Jack Hetherington
    Interchange for Eels is number 15 Tim Mannah
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Tyrell Fuimaono
    Interchange for Eels is number 16 Kane Evans
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 18 Jarome Luai
    Interchange for Eels is number 17 David Gower