[2020] Trial Panthers v Eels - Game Day Thread

Game Day Information #NRLPanthersEels #NRLTrials

:rugby_football: Match Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels
:stadium: Venue Bega Recreation Ground, Bega NSW
:clock10: Time Saturday 29th February 2020 4:00pm
:tickets: Tickets SOLD OUT
:stadium: Gates Open Gates Open 12:00pm
:rugby_football: Other Matches CCN TRIAL Penrith Panthers v WS Magpies SAT 22/2 4:00pm*
JFC TRIAL Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels SAT 22/2 2:30pm*
:sun_behind_rain_cloud: Weather :sunny: Sunny 28°C (3% Chance of Rain :cloud_with_rain:)
:tv: Broadcast :tv: Channel 9 (FTA) [LIVE]
:tv: Fox League (Channel 502) [LIVE]
:desktop_computer: NRL Live Pass [LIVE]
:kayo: Kayo Sports [LIVE]

Canterbury Cup and Jersey Flegg Trials will be player at Panthers Stadium, Penrith NSW.

:rugby_football: Telstra Premiership | Full Time

Penrith Panthers 22 Tries Nathan Cleary, Brian To’o, Josh Mansour, Brendan Hands
Goals Nathan Cleary (2/3), Jed Cartwright (1/1)
Parramatta Eels 22 Tries Mitchell Moses (2), Ray Stone, John Fonua
Goals Mitchell Moses (2/2), Jai Field (1/2)


Panthers Media Report

Match Highlights


Telstra Premiership Canterbury Cup NSW Jersey Flegg Cup
:rugby_football: Panthers v Eels :rugby_football: Panthers v WS Magpies :rugby_football: Panthers v Eels
:clock3: Saturday 29/2 4:00pm :clock3: Saturday 29/2 4:00pm :clock3: Saturday 29/2 2:30pm
:stadium: Bega Recreational Ground :stadium: Panthers Stadium :stadium: Panthers Stadium
1. Caleb Aekins 1. Charlie Staines 1. Glenn Mcgrady
2. Josh Mansour 2. Luke Nadurutalo 2. Ezra Coulston
3. Dean Whare 3. Thomas Jenkins 3. Taylan May
4. Brent Naden 4. Maliko Falino 4. Matthew Faauila
5. Brian To’o 5. Jake Tago 5. Logan Cohen
6. Jarome Luai 6. Jarrod Brackenhofer 6. Hayden Bonanno
7. Nathan Cleary 7. Kurt Falls 7. Dylan White
8. James Tamou (C) 8. Spencer Leniu 8. Jayden Tanner
9. Apisai Koroisau 9. Tyson Smoothy 9. Luke Sommerton
10. Zane Tetevano 10. Kaide Ellis 10. Lindsay Smith
17. Billy Burns 11. John Faimu 11. Ratu Nanovo
12. Liam Martin 12. George Tsikrikas 12. Brad Fearnley
13. Isaah Yeo 13. J’Maine Hopgood 13. Chase Chapman
14. Matt Burton 14.Jake Toby 14. Fred Pupu
15. Jack Hetherington 15. John Trimboli 15. Nitoa Kairau
16. Moses Leota 16. Billy Tsikrikas 16. Liam Henry
18. Tyrone May 17. Alex Myles 17. Ethan Clark-Wood
19. Jed Cartwright 18. Jack Nelson 18. Sadee Sub Laban
20. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 19. Maurice Trindall 19. Aaron Mawhinney
21. Stephen Crichton 20. Hannar El-Nachar
22. Brendan Hands 21. Mackenzie Atkins
23. Pat Hollis
Coach: Ivan Cleary Coach: Peter Wallace Coach: Guy Missio

Well Cleary admits the 17 is yet to be locked, of course that could just mean smoke and mirrors regarding the round one bench line up.

However given the performances we have seen so far, I suggest the following are the key players and positions still up for grabs;

Aekins vs Crichton for fullback. This should be Aekins to loose, however Crichton is a star of the future, and its going be hard to keep him out of the team. I expect both players will play one half at fullback against the slimeys.

Mansour vs Crichton, Whare vs Burns vs Cartwright. As much as Sauce and Whare have been great clubmen over the years, they are looking past their best. Can they keep the young cubs at Bay? Again, I suspect position swapping throughout the trial, most likely outcome (beside the status quo), would be Burns ahead of Whare. Just to much skill, spark and defense.

Luai vs Burton- they one everyone is watching. Despite only playing one game of firsts, Burton looks the real deal. A great steady head, brilliant kicking game and a bag of tricks few can match. Can Luai live up to his potential and prove his place next to Cleary. Can Burton play second fiddle to Cleary? Hope Cleary plays 80 with a half each for his two 5/8, somehow I think it will more be 40 mins with May thrown into the pot. The looser of this 5/8 battle will likely find a spot on the bench to cover for Api.

JFH - 13 or front row rotation. For me this is not a question of the props or JFH’s fitness. You would have to have a good reason to move your best 80 minute forward. Team balance would be one reason. Does it make more sense to play Martin at 13? This will be one of the toughest calls of the season, and make take many rounds to sort out the best mix.

Kenny - welcome back. I think however he is behind the 8 ball for a starting or bench spot. Can’t fault his attitude or performance last year though, I think though he will be unlucky, and wait his time in Reggie’s until injury or state of origin. He will be looking to impress though. I think a sign of the coaches intentions will be of who fills in for Api when he is off.

Looking forward to this game as always, will be watching on tv instead of going to the game with the family, but good on Panthers for the switch and for Bega turning out in force.


Good points, SHP. Interesting call about Burns v Cartright v Whare. Given Whare was the 9’s captain, I think Cleary will find it hard to drop him, unless Burns or Cartright make an irresistable case for inclusion. The fact that Carright’s a genuinely good goal kicker won’t hurt his cause.

Won’t be able to watch the game on tele today, but will try to catch it on nrl.com later in the week. Fingers crosed for a no injuries, good performance, no injuries & a Panthers win!

And no injuries.

P.S. Late mail says Capewell, JFH & Mitch Kenny have been ruled out - still rehabbing their injuries.

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Late Changes and Final Squad have been confirmed. Refer to modified Team List at top of thread.

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I know you can’t read too much in to trial form, but I think we are looking better than we did for about 90% of last season. Hopefully we can build from here.


Good first half, we faded a bit in the last 5 minutes.

Key takeaways;

Cleary is certainly stepping up a gear, looks very fit and taking on the line in both attack at defense.

Martin is almost best on field playing out wide, he’s as menacing as Kikau. Maybe JFH will play prop, with Yeo at lock.

Mansour and Whare both playing well.

Luai basically invisible.

Burns going well in the second row. Would be a good bench option to give Kikau a breather.

Mixed bag from Aekins. Good under the high ball and bring it back, positional play in defense is a worry (for mine the deciding skill of a good fullback).

First half played with the starting team + forward rotation. Let’s see if we see a different team run out the second half.


Looks like you got your wish for the halves combination SHF. Good call too, this is the thing we need to sort out most before round 1. On what I’ve seen so far, I’d give Burton the nod, maybe having Luai on the bench.

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Burton needs to be our 6. No question in my mind


I’m thinking fullback is the thing we need to look at now. Aekins has been caught out several times.

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True, but what other option do we have? Crichton didn’t get a run at fullback.

Despite what Cleary jnr said in the post match interview, I have Burton locked in at 6.

When Cleary went off, Burton played 7 with Luai at 6, then Api off, Luai went to 9 and May to 6.

To me this shows Luai will be on the bench to sub for Api.

My round one team;



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Looks like how it will be round 1. Don’t want to be trying anything new until we have to.

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As much as I’d like to have Crichton in the backs, just didn’t see enough of him today.

Waste opportunity in a way, I guess coach wanted Aekins to get match practice.

Just say the Hands try again on the news, gee that kid will be something in a couple of years


good opinions all.

i watched todays game with great interest and as we all know it was a trial but i think both coaches rolled what they thought were a starting side for the first 30 minutes and some points from that key part of the game

RCG hardly touched the ball from them and never took a hit up into us.

We either looked nervous or were just off the pace a little but hung in there so much so we started to get right over the top of them

The Tamou “strip” was nearly the best thing i saw in the game, just hope that is replicated again through the year
Cleary was solid and did a couple of great things
Kapisou showed what we had hoped he would, had too many options from dummy half and was very good
Mansour had i think his best half in almost a year, Whare was solid
Luai was almost invisible in the first half

Was a very tight half and were some highlights and SHF touched on 2 i see going forward

Who will be at 1 and who will be at 6

Cleary at half time basically said May will be #14 as he can play hooker, second row or halves so will be a utility player on the bench which still leaves us with 6 and 1

I liked what i saw of Crichton but is he a 1?

Burton for me has it all, good hands, can kick in general play and has the X factor

Can Aetkins build into the spot…maybe and at this stage he would expect to be chosen

If i had today to pick 1 and 6 i would pick Aetkins and Burton

Some standouts in the second half when we basically ran the seconds out

Hand really showed something and looks like he could be anything and expect him to improve

Crichton looks like he has something as well but as some touched on by others would like to see a little more of him

A fair bit to take out of the game for us but if i were an Eel fan, if something happens to Moses they are in real trouble

Just a trial which felll away in intensity and execution but also as touched on hope none of our boys copped any injuries

Meeting the Roosters is a completely different game and they are in the groove already shown by their win in England

Thank god footy is back


I don’t often comment on the opposition, but gee Parra was woeful.

Moses was their only spark and they looked lost with the ball in hand.

Reminded me of how we played in the battle of the west trial last year.

Back to us I reckon May is a shoe in for the bench spot once round 5 is up.

He has much more versatility and skill than either Luai or Kenny. I can see him coming on the last 10 minutes in the first half and tearing tired forwards apart.


Pretty much my thoughts on Parra too - no Moses, no Parra


Just saw a short grab from an interview with Ivan Cleary on nrl.com. The nuance of the interview was that Luai would be the starting 5/8 in Round 1 & Aekins had cemented the fullback spot.

He also praised Burton, but the praise sounded a bit tepid - sort of “he’ll be good in the future.”

Anyway, here’s the link.


thanks Bryan

it may well be way too early for Burton and Luai does have an x factor, i just think needs to be reminded its a team game and sure bring on the “x” factor but use it sparingly so it works when it does

Karisou is very similar, can be explosive and can create opportunities just needs someone to be running off his hip when he does those great darts he does which puts the defence on the backfoot and we can begin our offensive roll

Its a very long season and its good to even have us thinking about who may slot in where and i am pleasantly surprised we have so many albeit raw but surely talented.

Whilst Burton is obviously talented, I think he plays off the cuff a little too much in the games we have seen of him. That can destroy game plans at times. Probably be great with a bit more NRL experience, but NRL is often about grinding down the opposition, which isn’t helped when players ad lib.

I hear you Tom but for mine the ad lib can win games
when the game plans stalled. It’s hard to defend when
the opposition is not expecting it.The coach is there for a
reason, but surely wouldn’t discourage natural ability.