Parramatta Eels v Penrith Stadium Sunday, April 8, 4:10pm (AEST) ANZ Stadium, Sydney
The Wolf had high hopes for the Eels in 2018, unfortunately things haven’t gone the way they would have liked with a 0-4 start to the season. Meanwhile, the Panthers led by veteran James Maloney showed there is life in this Panthers side in the absence of Nathan Cleary with a shock 33-14 win in Townsville. These sides met in Round 1 with Penrith overcoming a 14-0 deficit to win 24-14.
FormParramatta have been awful to start the season, winless through four games with four double figure losses. They rank last in scoring at 9.5ppg while they rank last in defence conceding 30.5ppg. Penrith are third on the ladder with a 3-1 record. They enter this off their best performance of the year, a 13-plus win in Townsville. The Panthers have the fourth best attack while they rank seventh in defence.
Key MatchupMitchell Moses v James Maloney: Mitchell Moses has been very disappointing to start the season, missing 15 tackles already and couldn’t find his A-game against his former club in the Tigers last week. Things aren’t looking as rosy at Parramatta like they did when he made his mid-season move from the Tigers last year. James Maloney was sensational in the win over the Cowboys last week and proved that he can lead this Panthers side while Nathan Cleary is on the sidelines. Maloney scored a try and set up two others in the shock win over the Cowboys.
Stats That Matter– Parramatta are 0-4 ATS with a 2-2 total record while Penrith are 2-2 ATS with a 2-2 total record. – These teams met in Round 1 with Penrith overcoming a 14-0 deficit to win 24-14. – Penrith have won nine of the last 14 meetings though the Eels have won both matches played at ANZ. – The last five matches have failed to surpass 40 points. – The under is 18-8 in Parramatta ANZ games while Penrith are 2-5 ATS at the ground. – The Eels are 6-3 ATS with a 6-3 under record at ANZ as an underdog. – The under is a perfect 7-0 when the Eels play at ANZ after conceding 24 or more. – The Panthers have covered 7 of their last 11 away from Penrith with the under 29-17 since 2015 (15-9 at night). – Penrith have covered 5 of their last 7 road games after scoring 30 with the under hitting in 6 of 8.
Final ThoughtsThe Eels are down on confidence at the moment and they can’t be trusted until they get the runs on the board. They blew a 14-0 lead when they met the Panthers in Round 1, and the Panthers are coming off a confidence-boosting win over the Cowboys. They now have the belief that they can win without Nathan Cleary and should be able to do the double over the struggling Eels.