Nathan Brown is a chance to start in a late shake-up to the Eels’ forward pack for the Grand Final against the Panthers.
The Daily Telegraph’s Dave Riccio revealed on Triple M that Brown is being considered to start, with Ryan Matterson switching to the bench.
“There is a little tip around that Brad Arthur could go with starting Nathan Brown with Matterson on the bench,” Riccio said on Triple M.
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Eels complete captain’s run on home soil | 04:06
However, Aaron Woods believes the Eels should start Brown and put Junior Paulo back to the bench.
“I don’t mind (Brown starting) because you’re fighting fire with fire,” Woods said to the Triple M Saturday Scrum.
“I actually don’t mind Marata Niukore starting, I’d probably put Paulo back to the bench and start Brown.
“We did that with Origin, you’ve got a massive body on the bench. If Brown can hold his own against Fisher-Harris and Leota, then Paulo would come on when those two are off.
“It’s a big thinking plan for Parramatta.”
Brad Arthur has ruled out making any late changes to his backline despite Waqa Blake’s struggles under the high ball.
It comes as the Sydney Morning Herald revealed Blake ranks fourth worst in the NRL for defusing bombs.
Nathan Cleary terrorised Blake in the first week of the finals and is tipped to heap more pressure on the Eels star in the grand final on Sunday.
Arthur on Thursday bristled at suggestions he should swap Blake and Bailey Simonsson.
“I know last time we played these guys (Penrith) Waqa had some difficulties under the high ball, but you don’t tip blokes out on the back of one game,” Arthur said on Thursday.
“He’s very loyal to our team, and we’ve got to show the loyalty in return.
“Waqa’s talent is his ability to finish off tries. He’s a big strong body, carries the ball well out of the back field.
“We want to leave him there (on the wing). Gutho (fullback Clint Gutherson) has done a good job to help him out there with some positional play, and some of that comes back on us coaches.”
Meanwhile, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary will be tempted to use Api Koroisau off the bench in a ploy that worked wonders in the preliminary final.Read on for all the Grand Final Late Mail.
Read on for all the Grand Final Late Mail.
Is the Parramatta halfback curse a myth? | 03:24
GRAND FINAL SUNDAY OCTOBER 2
Penrith Panthers vs Parramatta Eels at Accor Stadium, 7.30pm AEDT
Panthers team: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Charlie Staines 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Mitch Kenny 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Jaeman Salmon 18. Sean O’Sullivan 19. Matt Eisenhuth 20. J’maine Hopgood 21. Sunia Turuva 22. Chris Smith
Late Mail: Taylan May has failed to recover from a hamstring injury, with Charlie Staines holding his place on the wing. Staines and Viliame Kikau escaped suspensions for shoulder charge offences and are free to play after being fined. Kikau has a hand injury that required him to be in a brace, but is expected to play through the pain. Staines, Izack Tago, Mitch Kenny and Jaeman Salmon are the four new faces from last year’s grand final win over Souths. Api Koroisau is a chance to start on the bench, with Kenny to begin the game at dummyhalf in a ploy Ivan Cleary has used several times in the back end of the year.
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Klein chosen as referee for Grand Final | 01:09
MORE NRL NEWS
‘CHOSEN FOR A REASON’: Eels star’s return not lost on Panthers’ ‘inner sanctum’
Eels team: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Bailey Simonsson 5. Waqa Blake 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Ryan Matterson 14. Nathan Brown 15. Jakob Arthur 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Marata Niukore 18. Bryce Cartwright 19. Makahesi Makatoa 20. Tom Opacic 21. Ofahiki Ogden 22. Ky Rodwell
Late Mail: Brad Arthur has recalled out of favour enforcer Nathan Brown to the bench after 12 weeks out of the side, with Bryce Cartwright pushed to the reserves. However, brown is a chance to start, according to The Daily Telegraph’s Dave Riccio on Triple M. Tom Opacic has failed to recover from a hamstring injury, despite being named in the reserves, with Bailey Simonsson expected to retain his place at centre. Makahesi Makatoa has been named in the reserves despite playing 24 games this season in a brutal call, with Jakob Arthur holding his place on the bench. Marata Niukore could be a late swap with Ryan Matterson at lock in a ploy Arthur used against the Cowboys.
Eels keen to stick to routine before GF | 02:16
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