Hostplus Match Preview: Round 8

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Updated: April 20, 2017

The Battle of the West ventures out to ANZ Stadium this Saturday when Parramatta Eels welcome the Panthers to their temporary home base.

Anthony Griffin has kept faith in the same side that was beaten 28-2 by Cronulla Sharks last Sunday. James Fisher-Harris has been named to retain his spot in the starting side despite coming from the field with a shoulder injury during the second half. Bryce Cartwright is amongst the reserves as he continues to battle his way back to full fitness after an ankle injury.

Opposition coach Brad Arthur has been forced in to making one change from the side that beat Wests Tigers 26-22 on Easter Monday, with Peni Terepo (chest) making way for Kenny Edwards who returns after serving a seven game suspension for disciplinary reasons.

Former Panthers Michael Jennings and Suaia Matagi start for the Eels, while Will Smith and George Jennings are named on their extended bench.

The Panthers will be out to make amends for their disappointing display against the Sharks where they let in five tries and failed to cross the line themselves. One bright spark was the ever-reliable output of Isaah Yeo, who churned out another 80-minute performance in the back row. Yeo led the Panthers forwards with 123 metres to go with his 25 tackles.

For the Eels, they will take confidence from being able to secure a come-from-behind four point victory over the Tigers despite not being at their best for large periods of the game. The Tigers ran out to a twelve point lead midway through the second half but were clawed back as the Eels backline scored all of their points on the day to clinch the win and snap a four game losing streak.

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This fixture produced two highly entertaining matches last season, as the Panthers completed miraculous comebacks to grab victory on both occasions. An 80th minute try to Cartwright snatched a 20-18 win at Pirtek Stadium in Round 5, before a second half onslaught from the Panthers helped overturn a 14-0 score line to run out 22-18 victors at Pepper Stadium in Round 19.

The Panthers continued that streak in to the Auckland Nines earlier this year when they eliminated the Eels in the semi-finals. A Waqa Blake double and a long-range effort from Malakai Watene-Zelezniak sealed a 13-0 win to march on into the Grand Final and send the Eels packing.

Source: http://www.penrithpanthers.com.au/news/2017/04/19/hostplus_match_previ.html





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