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Eels wary of a Panthers side 'down on confidence'

Brad Takairangi of the Eels runs at the Warriors defence.
Brad Takairangi of the Eels runs at the Warriors defence. DAVID ROWLAND

PARRAMATTA coach Brad Arthur is expecting a tough test at ANZ Stadium tonight against a Penrith side desperate for a win after three straight defeats.

"They are a very good team and were disciplined in their performance last week," Arthur said.

"The week before they were down some personnel and it went to golden point, so I don't think they are playing that bad.

"It's just a really good competition and a really tight competition and if you are not at your best and somebody else is, you are going to get beat.

"They are probably down a touch on confidence, but they are a very good team and you don't keep a very good team down for too long."

Bevan French is again absent with injury, so Clinton Gutherson will once more deputise in the fullback role with Brad Takairangi at five-eighth.

Arthur said he was happy with how the pair played in last week's come-from-behind win over the Wests Tigers.

"Takairangi and Gutherson did a good job," he said.

"They are NRL players and train every week, all throughout the pre-season, so you have to try and prepare for these situations.

"Takaz (Takairangi) is a footballer and came in and did a job for us.

"Takaz is five-eighth again this week, and if we get a few back on deck the following week maybe there will be some changes, but for the moment he will stay there this week anyway."

Penrith second-rower Bryce Cartwright has been promoted to the starting side, with James Fisher-Harris succumbing to injury.

Fisher-Harris was named in the Panthers' 17 on Tuesday but had been nursing a shoulder injury, with Cartwright to take his place as he returns from an ankle problem.

Topics:  brad arthur parramatta eels penrith panthers

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