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NRL: Eels attempt to stop the rot

Parramatta are still searching for their first win of the season and they will also be out for revenge for last season’s Grand Final defeat when they entertain Penrith on Thursday.

The 2023 NRL campaign is only in its infancy but this is a massive game for both sides, particularly the Eels following a horror start to the season.

They have been fighting hard in each of the three defeats and with a bit of luck the results could have gone their way. But that was not the case and they are now in need of a win to stop the rot and get the season back on track.

As for the Panthers they have played just the two games so far, winning one and losing one, and they should be refreshed and ready to go after the bye last week.

We can expect fireworks at CommBank on Thursday night. There is no love lost between these two sides and Parra will still be fuming following the Grand Final defeat and Penrith’s after-match celebrations. One or two things were said by the Panthers and such comments are sure to fire the Eels up even more.

Strap yourself in for this one, it looks set to be a cracker to open up round four.

What:Parramatta Eels v Penrith Panthers
Where:CommBank Stadium, Sydney
When:20:00 (AEST) Thursday 23rd March 2023
How to watch:Channel 9, Foxtel, Kayo
Odds: Parramatta 3.20, Penrith 1.36

Matterson back for Eels

Parramatta have had a season to forget so far but a good result against the Panthers could kick-start their campaign and there is one good piece of news. Ryan Matterson is back from his Grand Final suspension and owes the club and its supporters plenty after failing to cough up the cash that would have avoided such a ban.

He had to sit out the opening three games and watch on as his team-mates slipped to defeats against Melbourne Storm, Cronulla Sharks and Manly Sea Eagles.

Matterson should come out with fire in his belly as should the rest of the Eels players as they look to get one back on the Panthers following the Grand Final defeat.

A number of players have moved on since then but there is still enough quality in the Eels ranks to get them climbing up the ladder.

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Clint Gutherson, Maika Sivo, Dylan Brown and Mitchell Moses will all be in the side and if they can be at the top of their game the Eels will be in with a chance. They will also need to tighten up in defence.

Scoring points has not been an issue, they are averaging 23 a game, but that is no use if you are leaking them badly at the other end of the park. They have conceded 80 points in the opening three games and that has to change on Friday night. 

The effort has been there from the Eels and that is a huge positive but they need to turn it into results. In other team news, Jack Murchie has been ruled out with a head knock, while hooker Brendan Hands looks set to make his debut off the bench.

Panthers rested and raring to go

Penrith return to action following last weekend’s bye and they will be bursting to get out on to the pitch and build on the win over South Sydney Rabbitohs in round two.

They bounced back well following an opening round defeat against Brisbane but there is still plenty for them to work on following the departure of key players. The week away will have given them the opportunity to do just that and the Panthers will be expected to put in a strong performance against the Eels.

Penrith have the edge over the Eels in recent meetings when winning six out of the last eight games between the two sides. However the Eels have won the last two at CommBank so the Panthers will be keen to put that hoodoo to bed.

Star halves Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai have been nursing knocks this week but both will be fit and ready to take to the pitch come game-day.

Penrith have also been boosted by the news that interchange forward Scott Sorensen will make a return after recovering from a head knock.

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