Penrith and Parramatta clash at BlueBet Stadium for the annual Battle of the West with the defending premiers looking to make it 22 straight at the venue and nine wins to start the year.
In their way is an Eels side who were pummelled by the Cowboys in Darwin last week but have shown in western Sydney derbies in the past that these two sides put up a fight with every game played.
The Panthers knocked the Eels out of the finals last year, adding fuel for the blue and gold, who haven't beaten the 2021 champions since 2020, while Brad Arthur's side will be looking to get back into the top four after slipping to fifth.
Ivan Cleary's side have become truly formidable at home in recent years, having not lost at Penrith since July 2019 — a winning streak that could extent to 22 games if they make it five straight wins against the Eels.
Sportsbet Betting preview: Panthers v Eels
Panthers: A double boost for the defending premiers with Brian To'o (ankle) and Moses Leota (shoulder) are right to go. To'o replaces Charlie Staines, who is while Leota's inclusion would see him return to the run-on side alongside James Fisher-Harris. Scott Sorensen (illness) is out with Matt Eisenhuth coming onto the bench.
Eels: No late changes for the Eels. Tom Opacic (neck) returns to the backline in some much-needed relief for side and their injury woes. Dylan Brown returns to his usual five-eighth role with Jakob Arthur shifting to the reserves.
Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan EdwardsFullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
Winger for Panthers is number 5 Taylan MayWinger for Eels is number 2 Hayze Perham
Centre for Panthers is number 3 Izack TagoCentre for Eels is number 3 Will Penisini
Centre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen CrichtonCentre for Eels is number 4 Tom Opacic
Winger for Panthers is number 24 Brian To'oWinger for Eels is number 5 Bailey Simonsson
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 10 James Fisher-HarrisProp for Eels is number 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai KoroisauHooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
Prop for Panthers is number 22 Moses LeotaProp for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Isaiah Papali'i
Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah YeoLock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
Interchange for Panthers is number 8 Matthew EisenhuthInterchange for Eels is number 14 Makahesi Makatoa
Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer LeniuInterchange for Eels is number 15 Ryan Matterson
Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Jaeman SalmonInterchange for Eels is number 16 Oregon Kaufusi
Interchange for Panthers is number 23 Mitch KennyInterchange for Eels is number 17 Bryce Cartwright
Replacement for Panthers is number 2 Charlie StainesReplacement for Eels is number 18 Wiremu Greig
- Referee: Gerard Sutton
- Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
- Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
Nathan Cleary v Mitchell Moses: Cleary lines up against Moses for the 10th time in NRL history on Friday night with the Clive Churchill medal winner holding a 6-3 record overall. Cleary has been instrumental for the premiers in recent weeks after making his return from a shoulder injury. Moses hit a road block against the Cowboys in Darwin but will be looking to get one over Cleary as the pair look towards State of Origin in just over a month. Moses is the incumbent NSW halfback but Cleary's record at the state level speaks for itself.
Both side's have the best completion rates in the league at 81% each and an even 54% possession rate on average per game, ensuring Friday night's clash will be a spectacle of strong ball control and movement on both edges. While the Panthers are yet to be beaten, the Eels have struggled to win when they're not as clinical in both areas.
Match: Panthers v Eels
Round 9 -
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith