Parramatta prop Peni Terepo will slot straight into the run-on side for injured co-captain Tim Mannah in Sunday’s NRL derby against Penrith.
Mannah was ruled out for three matches earlier this week after fracturing his shoulder blade in their last-start win over Wests Tigers.
“Peni Terepo didn’t play last week but he’ll come straight back in,” coach Brad Arthur said on Saturday.
“The strength in our side at the moment is our depth. It made my job a little bit easier in that I didn’t have to drop someone.”
Parramatta have shocked the league with their defence over the opening month of the NRL, conceding a competition-low 39 points.
However Arthur warned his against resting on their laurels, suggesting the Panthers would continue to throw the ball around despite calls from their own coach to reel their offloads in.
“They’ll back their skill level – they like to push a pass,” Arthur said.
“I heard Anthony say during the week that they need to be better with their completions, but I’m sure that they won’t shut up shop.
“They’ll still play plenty of football because that’s their strength. They’re going to get a few offloads away, so we’ve got to make sure we don’t go to sleep.”
Griffin confirmed on Saturday that returning skipper Matt Moylan won’t resume goalkicking duties, while second-rower Bryce Cartwright, the game’s premier offloader last year, will carry a thumb injury into the game.
“Bryce was a little bit of a grey area earlier in the week – we didn’t know if he had a fracture in the thumb or it was just a dislocation,” he said.
“Luckily it was just the top knuckle of the thumb, it wasn’t the actual thumb joint. But he’s got a guard and he’ll be fine.”
The match also marks former Panthers pair Michael Jennings and Michael Gordon’s first game against their old club as Eels.
STATS THAT MATTER
* Parramatta won both local derbies last year for the first time in a decade.
* Penrith have lost seven straight matches away from home – their longest streak since 2002.
* Panthers fullback Matt Moylan had 10 try assists in 11 games before his season ended in last year’s round 11 loss to the Eels.