The winless Parramatta Eels host the Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon, the final game of NRL round five.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Parramatta will be hoping to gain their first competition points of 2018 against Penrith. They have shown improvement over the first few rounds, but will need to be at their very best on Sunday afternoon.
Penrith had a very convincing win against North Queensland last Thursday night, with James Maloney putting on a masterclass performance in the absence of halfback Nathan Cleary.
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur made one small change to his side, including Kane Evans on the extended bench. The first seventeen are unchanged from last weekend.
James Tamou has moved to the interchange bench, with Trent Merrin in the starting side. James Fisher-Harris has been moved into the starting side after starting last week’s match on the bench.
Penrith won the round one clash 24-14 at Panthers Stadium. With both teams scoring three tries, Penrith’s accurate goalkicking gave them victory. Cleary kicked six from six while Parramatta’s Mitchell Moses kicked one from three.
It’s a desperate game for the Eels who are yet to win a game all year. Their performance against the Wests Tigers last week was better, especially in the final stages where they closed the gap with a few late tries.
Penrith on the other hand are looking to stay on the pace with current leaders St George-Illawarra Dragons and New Zealand Warriors. They came along with a surprise win over North Queensland in round 4 without the services of Nathan Cleary.
The battle of the forwards will be crucial with Panthers pairing Reagan Campbell-Gillard and James Fisher-Harris playing out of their skin this season, set to take on the experienced Tim Mannah and hard-man Nathan Brown.
The mountain men will go in as favourites to win this derby.
Penrith have won ten of their last fifteen matches against Parramatta.
1 Will Smith, 2 George Jennings, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Kirisome Auva’a, 5 Josh Hoffman 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Kaysa Pritchard, 10 Tim Mannah (c), 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Tepai Moeroa, 13 Nathan Brown. Interchange: 14 Beau Scott, 15 Kenny Edwards, 16 Peni Terepo, 17 Tony Williams. Reserves: 18 Cameron King, 19 Suaia Matagi, 20 David Gower, 21 Kane Evans.
1 Dylan Edwards, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Waqa Blake, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Christian Crichton, 6 Tyrone Peachey, 7 James Maloney, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Peter Wallace (c), 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 James Fisher-Harris. Interchange: 14 Wayde Egan, 15 Corey Harawira-Naera, 16. Moses Leota, 17. James Tamou. Reserves: 18 Jarome Luai, 19 Nick Lui-Toso, 20 Siona Katoa, 21 Kaide Ellis.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: April 8, 2018
Venue: ANZ Stadium
WHO WILL WIN?
Penrith by six.