Eels coach swing the selection axe in a bid to shake-up his under-performing team.
Finding themselves sitting in last place and being on the end of their fifth big loss in a row, Parramatta coach Ricky Stuart has dropped several big names from the side named to take on Penrith.
Halves Joseph Paulo and Chris Sandow have been dropped, with Luke Kelly coming into the side and Ben Roberts promoted from the bench to five-eighth.
With Jacob Loko (knee, indefinite) out, Willie Tonga (back) comes into the side for his first match of 2013.
Mitchell Allgood (suspension) and Pat O’Hanlon (dropped) also miss out, with Kaysa Pritchard and Matt Ryan recalled.
Jarryd Hayne (hamstring) has not been named, but says he’s a slight chance of making a return while Brayden Wiliame retains his wing spot despite being schooled by Manlys’ Jorge Taufua last weekend.
The Sea Eagles were just the latest side to dine out on the soft defence of the Eels, who have given up 130 points in their last five games.
Stuart faces the tough balance of trying to maintain some decent level of play for the sake of fans and sponsors and rebuilding for next year.
With just three wins this season, Stuart has put his side on notice if they do not not turn things around, players, no matter what the size of their contracts, will be dropped to NSW Cup.
Penrith continue to slowly creep up the NRL ladder despite having a side that does not have the star-power of some outside of the top eight.
With solid wins over St George Illawarra and the Gold Coast in the past fortnight, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary would be confident of making three on the trot.
Lewis Brown returns in the back row, pushing Clint Newton to the bench and Ryan Simpkins to 18th man.
Matt Moylan and James Roberts have been retained, with Roberts impressing early in his NRL career with his performance last week.
Josh Mansour (fractured eye socket, round 20) remains sidelined, which is a blow given he has been one of the more consistent outside backs for the Panthers in recent times.
Tip: Penrith by 14
SATURDAY PARRAMATTA EELS v PENRITH PANTHERS at Parramatta Stadium
EELS: Jake Mullaney, Ken Sio, Ryan Morgan, Willie Tonga, Brayden Wiliame, Ben Roberts, Luke Kelly, Tim Mannah, Matt Keating, Fuifui Moimoi, Reni Maitua, Daniel Harrison, Darcy Lussick. Interchange: Kaysa Pritchard, Peni Terepo, Matt Ryan, Junior Paulo.
Ins: Willie Tonga, Luke Kelly, Kaysa Pritchard, Matt Ryan, Junior Paulo
Outs: Jacob Loko (knee, indefinite), Mitchell Allgood (suspension, unknown), Chris Sandow, Joseph Paulo, Pat O’Hanlon (dropped)
Others unavailable: Api Pewhairangi (hand, round 19), Kelepi Tanginoa (hand, indefinite), Taniela Lasalo (broken arm, indefinite), Cheyse Blair (knee, indefinite)
PANTHERS: Matt Moylan, James Roberts, Brad Tighe, Dean Whare, David Simmons, Isaac John, Luke Walsh, Nigel Plum, Kevin Kingston (capt), Tim Grant, Matt Robinson, Lewis Brown, Adam Docker. Interchange: James Segeyaro, Cameron Ciraldo, Mose Masoe, Clint Newton, Ryan Simpkins (one to be omitted).
Ins: Lewis Brown
Others unavailable: Josh Mansour (fractured eye socket, round 20), Sika Manu (thumb, round 22), Travis Robinson (salary cap drama), Kyle O’Donnell (knee, round 20), Tom Humble (ankle, season), Lachlan Coote (pectoral, season), Blake Austin (foot, indefinite), Sam McKendry (neck, indefinite), Tom Eisenhuth (ankle, indefinite), Ethan Cook (ACL, season)
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