Round 1 Preview: Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels

Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels

Location: Panthers Stadium
Date: Sunday 11 March
Time: 4:10pm (NSW), 3:10pm (QLD), 6:10pm (NZ)
Penrith Panthers 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Waqa Blake 4. Tyrone Peachey 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. James Maloney 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Peter Wallace 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Isaah Yeo 13. Trent Merrin

Interchange: 14. Corey Harawira-Naera, 15. Sam McKendry, 16. Moses Leota, 17. James Fisher-Harris

Reserves:18. Sione Katoa, 19. Tim Browne, 20. Christian Crichton, 21. Jarome Luai Parramatta Eels 1. Bevan French 2. Josh Hoffman 3. Michael Jennings 4. Jarryd Hayne 5. Kirisome Auva’a 6. Corey Norman 7. Mitch Moses 8. Daniel Alvaro 9. Cameron King 10. Tim Mannah (c) 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Nathan Brown
Interchange: 14. Beau Scott (c), 15. Brad Takairangi, 16. Suaia Matagi, 17. Kane Evans

Reserves: 18. Will Smith, 19. Kenny Edwards, 20. David Gower, 21. Kaysa Pritchard Parramatta are round 1 specialists of late while their Western Sydney rivals Penrith are notoriously slow starters. After an off-season full of rumours around players and coach that looks to be the case again for he men from the foot of the mountains. Parramatta is largely unchanged from last season with favourite son Jarryd Hayne returning in place of Semi Radradra and Kane Evans arriving from Roosters. Penrith on the other hand have lost 2 of their most promising juniors in former captain Matt Moylan and Bryce Cartwright and bringing in larrikin James Maloney. Key match ups: Match up 1: Nathan Cleary v Mitchell Moses The halfbacks for these teams is an intriguing match up. Moses was apart of Lebanon’s World Cup campaign under new NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler and would no doubt have his eye on pushing for Origin claims with a strong start to the season. Cleary on the other hand if you went off the media is a no brainer to fill that dreaded 7 jersey for the Blues in 2018. He too will be looking at this match up as a stepping stone to his push for rep honours. Who knows they could even partner each other in the Blues side? Match up 2: Battle of the big benches Both sides have named 4 forwards on their initial benches. It will be intriguing to see how both sides rotate their big men and these guys coming off he interchange will no doubt need to bring the impact needed to break the game. Match up 3: Wallace v King The battle of the hookers is an exciting one as both will probably have to push out 80 minutes given the 4 forward rotation off the bench for both sides. Wallace adds some playmaking ability to the home sides spine while Cameron King brings a calmness to a spine for Parramatta that is exciting and likes to play a bit out of the box. My prediction: Parramatta to win a close hard fought match by 8 points. -Nath


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