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As well as providing the latest chapter in one of the game's great rivalries, these teams have a lot to play for in terms of where they'll sit entering the finals. 

The Eels, a side that many had put a line through a few weeks back, bounced back in style by ending Melbourne's 19-game winning streak last Saturday. If they win and Manly lose this weekend a top-four spot beckons. 

That Melbourne loss means Penrith now find themselves in a share of top spot but they are 131 points adrift in the for-and-against department.

They need to win on Friday and then hope the Storm to lose again if they are to claim a second straight minor premiership.

The rundown

Team news

Eels: Parramatta will start 1-17 with Will Penisini the 18th man.

Shaun Lane (head knock) has passed concussion protocols this week to take his place. 

Tom Opacic (ribs) returns and will partner Michael Oldfield in the centres.

Oregon Kaufusi, Makahesi Makatoa, Bryce Cartwright, Keegan Hipgrave and Ray Stone all come into the starting pack with Brad Arthur resting his stars. 

Isaiah Papali'i and Nathan Brown dropped off the extended bench 24 hours before kick-off.

The Eels have won four of their past six games at Cbus Super Stadium.

Panthers: As has been the case in recent weeks, Viliame Kikau will start on the bench with Liam Martin in the run-on side. Izack Tago will be the 18th man.

Spencer Leniu and Taylan May were omitted from the reserves on Thursday night.

Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary has won 35 of his past 37 NRL games.

Key match-up

Nathan Cleary v Jake Arthur. The Eels rookie can't be expected to out-perform Cleary considering the different stages they're at in their careers, but what Parramatta will want is some to steer the team around the park, make their tackles and provide a threat with ball in hand. A great challenge for Arthur. 

Stat attack

Blake Ferguson enjoyed a great night in his return from injury against Melbourne. Taking the place of Maika Sivo, Ferguson scored two tries, ran for 109 from 12 carries and had two line-breaks and two tackle-breaks in his side's brave win.


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Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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