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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

The Rundown

Team news

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. 

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
    Fullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
  • Winger for Panthers is number 5 Taylan May
    Winger for Eels is number 2 Hayze Perham
  • Centre for Panthers is number 3 Izack Tago
    Centre for Eels is number 3 Will Penisini
  • Centre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen Crichton
    Centre for Eels is number 4 Tom Opacic
  • Winger for Panthers is number 24 Brian To'o
    Winger for Eels is number 5 Bailey Simonsson
  • Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome Luai
    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 10 James Fisher-Harris
    Prop for Eels is number 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
  • Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
    Hooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
  • Prop for Panthers is number 22 Moses Leota
    Prop for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
    2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
  • 2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin
    2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Isaiah Papali'i
  • Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
    Lock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown

Interchange

  • Interchange for Panthers is number 8 Matthew Eisenhuth
    Interchange for Eels is number 14 Makahesi Makatoa
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer Leniu
    Interchange for Eels is number 15 Ryan Matterson
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Jaeman Salmon
    Interchange for Eels is number 16 Oregon Kaufusi
  • Interchange for Panthers is number 23 Mitch Kenny
    Interchange for Eels is number 17 Bryce Cartwright

Reserves

  • Replacement for Panthers is number 2 Charlie Staines
    Replacement for Eels is number 18 Wiremu Greig

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
  • Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Key match-up

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.

Stat attack

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.

Acknowledgement of Country

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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