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

Eels wary of a Panthers side 'down on confidence'

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.

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