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Crichton wary of desperate Eels for Grand Final rematch

Westpac NSW Blues centre Stephen Crichton said Penrith was wary of Parramatta but also ready for them in the NRL Grand Final re-match at CommBank Stadium tonight.

The game is a virtual Origin ‘mate against mate’ scenario with Eels forwards Junior Paulo, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Ryan Matterson up against Liam Martin and Isaah Yeo from the Panthers.

The halves will see Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai up against Mitch Moses.

Crichton said he and his Panthers teammates were not buying into talk the Eels had lost confidence after a 0-3 start to 2023.

“They always turn up every week and they’ve troubled us the past few years as well coming up to this game,” Crichton said.

“So that will give them great motivation as well.”

The Eels won 22-20 and 34-10 in Round Nine and Round 20 last year, before losing the Qualifying Final and Grand Final (28-12).

 “I’m not sure what it is but they always seem to turn up against us,” Crichton said.

“They have confidence (from past Panthers results) that their game works well. They have threats all over the park to score points.

“They want to put stamp on this game. What better way to get their first win of the year than against us?”

Penrith is coming off a bye so the time might be ripe for Parramatta to grab another win.

“We’re feeling refreshed – all the boys are,” he said.

“We got some rest, a good little break but we’ve done be our best to be ready as well.”

The Eels have been averaging 23 points a game but in three rounds they have had 14 tries scored against them.

While they’ve put on 68 points, they’ve had 80 scored against them.

Crichton has scored in both games for Penrith so far, averaging 140 metres alongside eight tackle busts.

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