Five things - Eels v Panthers

The Parramatta Eels will play their third home game at Bankwest Stadium when they take on the Penrith Panthers in Round 11.

 

Both teams are desperate for a win with the Eels losing their last two games, and the Panthers without a win in their last six games.

 

The Eels are sitting eighth on the NRL ladder and the Panthers at the bottom of the table in sixteenth place.

 

Here are five things you need to know about the clash.

 

 

NRL Indigenous Round

 

The NRL Indigenous Round is now in its eleventh year.

 

It is to raise awareness of the significant struggles and challenges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have faces and continue to face daily.

 

Each team has designed an Indigenous jersey to wear for the round.

 

Josh Hoffman, Will Smith, Blake Ferguson and Bevan French designed the Eels jersey, which includes the area of Parramatta, which was known by the Darug people as Burramatta - "Burra" meaning eel and "matta" meaning creek.

 

Each Indigenous player also has a totem to represent where they have come from.

 

Changes for both teams

 

There have been several changes to both line-ups for the Round 11 clash.

 

Brad Takairangi and Daniel Alvaro have moved to the bench, with Tim Mannah back in the starting side.

 

Blake Ferguson will play in he centres and George Jennings will move to the left wing, with Maika Sivo returning to the left wing.

 

Tepai Moeroa will sit out this game due to concussion protocol from a hit last round.

 

The Panthers are without suspended five-eighth James Maloney and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who has been dropped.

 

They’ll be replaced by Jarome Luai in the halves and Brian To'o on the wing.

 

Reagan Campbell-Gillard will start at prop and James Fisher-Harris moves from backrower to lock.

 

Eels playing for Big D

 

The Parramatta Eels will be playing for Life Member and Club legend, Denis “Big D” Anderson, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 71 with his family by his side.

 

Denis had been battling cancer for the last 12 months.

 

Denis started working with the club over 44 years ago and was involved at every level of the Eels footballing programs from the Junior Representative teams all the way through to the Eels NRL team.

 

Big D was the long-time doorman for Parramatta Eels home games, yelling out his infamous call to arms as players made their way out of the dressing rooms “Parra’s in the tunnel!”

 

The team will tonight wear black armbands in Denis’ memory, with a wider celebration of his life to come in our Round 12 game against the Rabbitohs.

 

The Club is working with Big D's family on how best to recognise his tremendous contribution to the club.

 

 

Eels clinging to top eight

 

The Eels could slide to as low as twelfth place on the NRL ladder if they lose tonight, or they could also bolster their number eight standing.

 

The Panthers sit last on the table and will be keen to add another win to their two so far this season.

 

Manu Ma’u plays his 100th NRL game

 

Manu Ma’u will play his 100th NRL game when he runs out for the Eels tonight.

 

Ma’u started his career relatively late, at the age of 25, after coming across from Auckland to join the Eels.

 

He is now one of the fiercest forwards in the competition, and has represented Tonga on the international level.