It sums up the kind of year that 2021 has been that Western Sydney rivals Penrith and Parramatta will meet in the north of Queensland.
Mackay will be the venue for their week-two semi-final on Saturday night with the Panthers coming off an upset loss to Souths and the Eels building momentum after a gutsy win over Newcastle.
The Panthers have had a smooth run throughout most of the season but they were brought undone by the Rabbitohs in week one of the finals.
Parramatta have been much more inconsistent throughout the season and have a recent history of finals fade-outs counting against them.
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However, coach Brad Arthur is confident they can still improve on their performance against Newcastle when they nearly coughed up a 12-point lead before sealing the win with a late penalty try.
The winner of this match will progress to a preliminary final match-up with Melbourne in Brisbane.
Match: Panthers v Eels
Finals Week 2 -
Venue: BB Print Stadium, Mackay
Panthers: Brian To'o is out of the Panthers side with a minor ankle injury. Brent Naden has been named to start on the wing. In a game day change Liam Martin has been promoted to the starting side with Viliame Kikau going to the bench.
Front-rower Moses Leota (leg), fullback Dylan Edwards (foot) and interchange forward Scott Sorensen (wrist) were declared certain starters by coach Ivan Cleary on Thursday.
To'o and Tyrone May were the two players left out 24 hours before the match. Spencer Leniu was the last man cut an hour before kick-off and Izack Tago is the 18th man.
The Panthers have won six of their past eight games against the Eels.
Eels: The Eels are 1-17 with no late changes.
Nathan Brown (leg cork) is expected to play despite failing to finish last week's clash against Newcastle.
Clint Gutherson and Blake Ferguson were also hampered by leg injuries against the Knights but are in no doubt this week.
Ryan Matterson is back on deck after being left out of the 17 last week. Makahesi Makatoa drops to the reserves to make way for Matterson.
Oregon Kaufusi and Jake Arthur were omitted 24 hours before kick-off. Tom Opacic was the last man cut from the squad an hour before kick-off and Makatoa is 18th man.
The Eels have not won back-to-back finals games since 2009.
Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan EdwardsFullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
Winger for Panthers is number 2 Stephen CrichtonWinger for Eels is number 2 Haze Dunster
Centre for Panthers is number 3 Paul MomirovskiCentre for Eels is number 3 Will Penisini
Centre for Panthers is number 4 Matt BurtonCentre for Eels is number 4 Waqa Blake
Winger for Panthers is number 20 Brent NadenWinger for Eels is number 5 Blake Ferguson
Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome LuaiFive-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan ClearyHalfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses LeotaProp for Eels is number 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai KoroisauHooker for Eels is number 9 Ray Stone
Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-HarrisProp for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Kurt Capewell2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
2nd Row for Panthers is number 17 Liam Martin2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Marata Niukore
Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah YeoLock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
Interchange for Panthers is number 11 Viliame KikauInterchange for Eels is number 14 Will Smith
Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Mitch KennyInterchange for Eels is number 15 Isaiah Papali'i
Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Scott SorensenInterchange for Eels is number 16 Bryce Cartwright
Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Tevita Pangai JuniorInterchange for Eels is number 17 Ryan Matterson
Reserve for Panthers is number 19 Izack TagoReserve for Eels is number 18 Makahesi Makatoa
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Touch Judge: Jon Stone
- Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins
James Fisher-Harris v Reagan Campbell-Gillard: South Sydney's middle forwards went after the Panthers' hard man on Saturday night. He finished with just nine runs for 79m in his 50 minutes of field team. If Fisher-Harris can reassert his dominance in this game, the Panthers will be on their way to victory.
His former Panthers teammate Reagan Campbell-Gillard has been, like Parramatta overall, hot and cold this season but will prove a formidable barrier to JFH getting on a roll.
The 10 points the Panthers scored against South Sydney equalled their lowest output for the season. That came in Round 20 against the Storm. They've scored fewer than 20 points five times in 2021.
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