The Battle of the West between the Panthers and Eels has been moved to Bega on the NSW South Coast, with the trial raising funds for bushfire and drought victims.
A sell-out crowd will watch the EISS Super Sapphire Trial opponents put the final touches on their 2020 preparations at the Bega Recreation Ground.
Parramatta went down 28-24 to the Rabbitohs last week, with prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard pulling on the blue-and-gold for the first time, while Penrith smashed the Wests Tigers 32-4 as Tyrone May starred.
Match: Panthers v Eels
Round 3 -
Venue: Bega Recreation Ground, Bega
Panthers squad: Apisai Koroisau, Billy Burns, Brendan Hands, Brent Naden, Brian To'o, Caleb Aekins, Dean Whare, Isaah Yeo, Jack Hetherington, James Fisher-Harris, James Tamou, Jarome Luai, Jed Cartwright, Josh Mansour, Kurt Capewell, Liam Martin, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Matt Burton, Mitch Kenny, Moses Leota, Nathan Cleary, Pat Hollis, Stephen Crichton, Tyrone May, Viliame Kikau, Zane Tetevano.
Forwards Kurt Capewell and Zane Tetevano will make their club debuts in a strong squad. Capewell missed the first trial with a quad complaint while Tetevano was on Maori All Stars duty. Fullback Caleb Aekins, who was absent last week due to the birth of his first child, is set to wear the No.1 as he prepares to replace the injured Dylan Edwards in round one. James Fisher-Harris is poised to play his first game since sustaining a pectoral injury late last year.
Eels squad: Daniel Alvaro, Dylan Brown, Nathan Brown, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Haze Dunster, Kane Evans, Blake Ferguson, Jai Field, John Fonua, David Gower, Clint Gutherson, George Jennings, Michael Jennings, Oregon Kaufusi, Shaun Lane, Reed Mahoney, Ryan Matterson, Mitch Moses, Marata Niukore, Ethan Parry, Junior Paulo, Jaeman Salmon, Maika Sivo, Will Smith, Ray Stone, Peni Terepo, Stefano Utoikamanu.
Big guns Clint Gutherson, Mitch Moses, Blake Ferguson and Michael Jennings have all been named in a powerful Eels squad while Reagan Campbell-Gillard will line up against his former teammates for the first time. Former Dragons playmaker Jai Field has joined the club on a train-and-train deal and he'll want to prove he deserves a permanent contract.
Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Caleb AekinsFullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
Winger for Panthers is number 2 Josh MansourWinger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
Centre for Panthers is number 3 Dean WhareCentre for Eels is number 3 Michael Jennings
Centre for Panthers is number 4 Brent NadenCentre for Eels is number 4 Jaeman Salmon
Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'oWinger for Eels is number 5 Blake Ferguson
Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome LuaiFive-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan ClearyHalfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
Prop for Panthers is number 8 James TamouProp for Eels is number 8 Junior Paulo
Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai KoroisauHooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
Prop for Panthers is number 10 Zane TetevanoProp for Eels is number 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
2nd Row for Panthers is number 17 Billy Burns2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Ryan Matterson
Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah YeoLock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Matt BurtonInterchange for Eels is number 14 Marata Niukore
Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Jack HetheringtonInterchange for Eels is number 15 Peni Terepo
Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Moses LeotaInterchange for Eels is number 16 Kane Evans
Interchange for Panthers is number 18 Tyrone MayInterchange for Eels is number 17 Ray Stone
Reserve for Panthers is number 19 Jed CartwrightReserve for Eels is number 18 Will Smith
Reserve for Panthers is number 20 Malakai Watene-ZelezniakReserve for Eels is number 19 George Jennings
Reserve for Panthers is number 21 Stephen CrichtonReserve for Eels is number 20 Haze Dunster
Reserve for Panthers is number 22 Brendan HandsReserve for Eels is number 21 Jai Field
Reserve for Panthers is number 23 Patrick HollisReserve for Eels is number 22 Ethan Parry
Reserve for Eels is number 23 David Gower
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Referee: Chris Butler
- Touch Judge: Tim Roby
- Touch Judge: Rickey MacFarlane
The big question
Panthers: Can Aekins lock up the No.1 jersey for the opening round? The 22-year-old, who has played four NRL games, had his 2019 season curtailed by a fractured foot. A solid return in Bega will all but ensure his place for round one, where he could then mount a case to keep the jersey long-term.
Eels: How will the big-name recruits fare? This clash will be the first time new Eels forwards Ryan Matterson and Reagan Campbell-Gillard play together. The star duo are tipped to take Parramatta's pack to the next level and we'll see how they feed off each other.