Parramatta Eels to lift for battle of the west

Big boost: Returning Eels forward Junior Paulo is expected to have a big game against Penrith. Picture: Getty Images
Big boost: Returning Eels forward Junior Paulo is expected to have a big game against Penrith. Picture: Getty Images

The Parramatta Eels will look to put on- and off-field drama behind them as they prepare to take on their western Sydney rivals Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium on Friday night.

The Eels have not had a win since their round seven clash with the Newcastle Knights and have slumped to last place.

But if there is one game for the Eels to start turning things around, it is against the Panthers.

The two teams have always enjoyed a strong rivalry and both teams are expected to rise to the occasion on Friday night.

Despite the Eels recent results, they could consider themselves unlucky to not have more wins.

Eels coach Brad Arthur has put the spotlight on their goalkickers, with missed conversions playing a big part in their 14-12 loss to the Rabbitohs last week and their 17-13 loss to the Warriors.

In both matches, the Eels had scored three tries apiece with their rivals, but Luke Kelly failed with all three conversion attempts against the Warriors, while Chris Sandow missed three goals and Reece Robinson was unsuccessful with his one attempt against Souths.

"We have kicked none from seven in the last two weeks which hasn't helped us," Arthur told Fairfax Media. "It might have been the difference between us being two in a row."

Arthur also said the $525,000 fine and the threat of starting next season on minus four competition points had not caused any disruption to Parramatta's preparations for the match.

"It is not an excuse, it doesn't have an impact on us," he said.

"The boys are professional, they have trained hard and I couldn't be happier with what they are doing off the field. We are taking that effort and we are actually sticking to game plans, we stuck to a kick plan so we are heading in the right directions but we need to get some wins."

State of Origin has had little impact on either club, with Eels winger William Hopoate the only player who could back up.

Friday night's clash starts at 7.30pm and is on Channel Nine.

This story Besieged Eels set to lift for Panthers first appeared on Parramatta Sun.

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