NRL 2022, Parramatta Eels v Penrith Panthers round 20 preview, team lists, updates, ins and outs

NRL 2022, Parramatta Eels v Penrith Panthers round 20 preview, team lists, updates, ins and outs

Still the only team to get the better of Penrith in 2022, the Eels will be hoping to replicate that success as they seek to maintain distance between themselves and the logjam of teams on the edge of the top eight.

The Panthers had to do it the hard way against a dogged Sharks side in miserable conditions last Saturday, and for the first time all year they are presented with the motivation of facing an opponent who currently has the wood on them.

The Eels have suffered two defeats at CommBank Stadium this year, while the Panthers have won in five of their seven visits to the venue, with one of those losses coming against Parramatta in 2020.

A win will mean the Eels at the least maintain the four-point buffer between them and the four sides behind them in the race for a finals spot, while for Penrith it will inch them closer to securing the JJ Giltinan Shield for the second time in three years.

The Rundown

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Eels: Bryce Cartwright makes his return from a rib injury on the interchange, with Jakob Arthur the player to make way, although he remains in the reserves. Halfback Mitchell Moses requires just five points against the Panthers to hit 1000 career points.

Panthers: Stephen Crichton will miss the game after suffering a laceration to his left ear against the Sharks which required plastic surgery last week. His place of him in the centers is taken by Robert Jennings. Five-eighth Jarome Luai is out with a knee injury, replaced by Sean O’Sullivan. After being a late withdrawal in Round 19, prop Moses Leota is listed among the reserves while Charlie Staines has been added to the bench in place of the injured Mitch Kenny (knee).

key match-up

Maika Sivo v Brian To’o: The two Pasifika powerhouses will come face to face at CommBank Stadium, with Sivo occupying Parramatta’s left wing and To’o on the right for Penrith. Sivo has made his mark since returning to the field in round 14 and has four tries in his last three games, including a double last week. To’o was at his tackle-breaking best last up, smashing through six would-be attempts to clock up 60 post-contact meters on a night where he carried for 225 in total.

Stat Attack

In 2022 these two sides have taken care of the ball better than anyone in the NRL, with the Eels’ average completion rate of 80 percent this season bettered only by the Panthers’ 81 percent. All up Penrith have made the fewest errors in the competition so far, averaging 9 per game, while the Eels have the third-best record in that department and average 9.4.

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