The Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels clash in a traditional NRL western derby at Panthers Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 4:05pm (AEDT).
Both the Panthers and Eels have nervously waited as club after club has taken to the field to begin their NRL campaigns for 2019.
Finally, Sunday afternoon sees their opportunities and the long awaited appearance of the two popular clubs will put smiles on the faces of thousands of supporters.
Sadly, most of those supporters will not be at Panthers Stadium, with torrential rain predicted for Sydney throughout much of the day.
The spectacle will no doubt be affected and a tight, low scoring affair seems likely. Such has been the quantity of rain this weekend in Sydney that the rare sight of pooling water may come to pass; something quite rare on well-drained, modern NRL surfaces.
Expectations around both sides could not be more different. The Panthers loom as a top four team in 2019, with Nathan Cleary at the helm in the halves and a host of exciting and hard running back-rowers ready to take another step forward and improve.
Isaac Yeo and James Fisher-Harris are two such players and along with Dylan Edwards, Waqa Blake and Josh Mansour in a now experienced back line, Penrith look strong across the park.
Parramatta are hoping for anything but another season of misery. Much expectation will be placed on new signings Blake Ferguson and Shaun Lane, with Mitchell Moses taking on the majority of responsibility for the creation of attacking opportunities.
Squad depth looks to be a serious question for the Eels and Brad Arthur will be under the pump right from the outset.
The Panthers should mop up the Eels easily in this one, however, the weather looks like keeping things tighter than many would expect.
The power running of the Panthers up front will dent the Parramatta defence on a consistent basis and a trickle of points in the wet will be enough for the home side to claim victory.
Catch all the action on The Roar live coverage from 4:05pm (AEDT).
Where: Panthers Stadium, Penrith
When: Sunday 17 March 2019, 4:05pm (AEDT)
TV: Fox Sports, NINE Network
Betting: Penrith Panthers $1.50, Parramatta Eels $2.55
1 Dylan Edwards 2 Josh Mansour 3 Waqa Blake 4 Dean Whare 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6 James Maloney 7 Nathan Cleary 8 James Tamou 14 Wayde Egan 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11 Jack Hetherington 12 Isaah Yeo 13 James Fisher-Harris.
Interchange: 15 Tyrell Fuimaono 16 Moses Letoa 17 Hame Sele.
Reserves: 18 Jarome Luai 19 Tim Grant 21 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak
1 Clinton Gutherson (c) 2 Maika Sivo 3 Michael Jennings 4 Brad Takairangi 5 Blake Ferguson 6 Dylan Brown 7 Mitchell Moses 8 Daniel Alvaro 9 Reed Mahoney 10 Tepai Moeroa 11 Shaun Lane 12 Marata Niukore 13 Nathan Brown.
Interchange: 14 Will Smith 15 Tim Mannah (c) 16 Kane Evans 17 David Gower.
Reserves: 18 Josh Hoffman 19 Oregon Kaufusi