You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Eels forward Bryce Cartwright.

Brad Arthur dismissed concerns around Clint Gutherson's fitness ahead of next week's elimination final against Newcastle as the Eels coach is left to ponder the make-up of his bench for the clash.

Arthur said several of his players put their hand up in Friday night's 40-6 loss to the Panthers to join those who were rested for the clash, including Gutherson, who has overcome a knee injury.

Arthur was proud of the players' efforts despite the result and believes the squad would take confidence leading into the finals.

"I've never walked into a dressing shed where we've had 40 points put on us and said I was proud," Arthur said.

"I thought we played tough and our effort was great. Maybe they took us a bit lightly early in the piece but I thought we rattled them.

Match Highlights: Eels v Panthers

"That was exactly what tonight was about. I reckon our performance tonight beats half the competition.

"It provided an opportunity for other blokes to step up and I've got headaches now ahead of next week picking a bench."

The Eels lost Oregon Kaufusi and Keegan Hipgrave to head knocks but are set to be boosted by the return of Reagan Campbell-Gillard from a groin injury.

Eels back-rower Ryan Matterson will also be available after serving a three-game suspension with Arthur confident the side was back on track after a four-game losing streak last month.

Their sixth-spot ladder finish means they'll have to go the next month of the competition undefeated to claim the title.

"It's what it is, we finished fourth last year and it didn't help us," Arthur said.

Opacic wins the race to an Arthur kick

"It looks a bit like us, heaps of energy and being aggressive. It hasn't done anything to our confidence."

Newcastle will play the Broncos on Saturday with Arthur indicating he'll watch the match closely.

The Knights have opted to rest several of their stars but will play key men Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce.

"They've won four or five in a row and have Brisbane tomorrow so we'll watch," Arthur said.

"They're playing controlled footy. They don't give you much. We're going to be in for a huge fight.

"It's a new competition but we've certainly got nothing that is weighing us down."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners