2022 NRL Round 20 Preview, Eels Vs Panthers

Nathan Smith previews the western Sydney derby between the Parramatta Eels and Penrith Panthers. Here’s what we have to look forward to…

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Parramatta Eels Vs Penrith Panthers
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Parramatta
Date: Friday 29th July, 7:55pm (local)


Related: NRL Team List Tuesday

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Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Waqa Blake 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Ryan Matterson 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Bryce Cartwright 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Marata Niukore 18. Jakob Arthur 19. Ofahiki Ogden 20. Ky Rodwell 21. Tom Opacic 22. Sean Russell

Brad Arthur has only made one change, with Bryce Cartwright coming onto the bench for Jakob Arthur. Otherwise, the team reads as it did last week.

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Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Taylan May 3. Izack Tago 4. Robert Jennings 5. Brian To’o 6. Sean O’Sullivan 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Matt Eisenhuth 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Jaeman Salmon 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Charlie Staines 18. Sunia Turuva 19. Lindsay Smith 20. Chris Smith 21. Thomas Jenkins 22. Moses Leota

Penrith loses two key players in Stephen Crichton and Jarome Luai, which sees Robert Jennings come into centre and Sean O’Sullivan at five-eighth. Furthermore, Moses Leota is amongst the reserves and might feature, while Charlie Staines comes onto the bench for Mitch Kenny.

Referee: Todd Smith


Parramatta and Penrith meet for their second western Sydney derby of 2022. Of late, they’ve had a knack for putting on a game of the year contender, so there’s every reason to get excited for this one. It will be a packed CommBank Stadium, a huge atmosphere, and two sides determined to assert themselves as the kings of the greater west.

The Panthers haven’t lost since they last met the Eels earlier this year. Even during the origin period, which most suspected might see them drop a game, was managed perfectly. Last week, they came up against a Sharks side that is looking every chance of featuring in the top four. Though they trailed early, the Panthers showed that there are gears to their performances and they would end up putting 20 unanswered points on the opposition to win. They’ve wrapped up the minor premiership and the big one is considered theirs to lose; it’s all but guaranteed they’d like to tick off a win against the Eels as well.

The Eels find themselves in a world of trouble leading into this match. After a mostly dire match against the Broncos last week, which all but dashed their chances of featuring in the top four, they face the reality that they could fall from the top eight should they be unable to pick up any wins in the next few weeks. Now, one might think the Eels are a team capable of a win here and there, but when their run home features predominantly top eight teams, it’s a touch more difficult for a side as inconsistent as them. That said, it seems Panthers bring something out in the Eels, and so they’ll be hoping they can draw from that and put in a huge performance this week.

One feature of the past few encounters between these sides has been the brutality of the forwards battle. Both sides feature two of the best props in the game in Junior Paulo and James Fisher-Harris, which makes for a tantalising match-up. Furthermore, former Panther Reagan Campbell-Gillard won’t take a backwards step against his old side, while Moses Leota is a chance to return to add further punch to the Panthers’ pack. All in all, this has all the makings of another classic.

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  • The past two encounters between these teams have been within two points. As such, this could be a close one.
  • They’ve played 104 times, with the Eels having won slightly more at 59 to 44.
  • Some milestones: Mitchell Moses needs five points to reach 1000 career points, while Ryan Matterson plays his 50th game for the Eels.
  • The Eels and Panthers have played twice at CommBank Stadium, with one win each.


Penrith Panthers 1-12

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