Petero set for double duel with Cayless - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Petero set for double duel with Cayless

By Todd Balym 02/05/2008 07:53:06 PM Comments (0)

Penrith skipper Petero Civoniceva is bracing himself for one of the toughest weeks of his life as he confronts Kiwi enforcer and Parramatta captain Nathan Cayless twice in seven days.

The two front rowers will square off at CUA Stadium in an NRL clash on Saturday night before heading to the Sydney Cricket Ground next Friday for the Centenary Test between Australia and New Zealand.

With Cayless determined to help resurrect the Eels ailing season, Civoniceva knows he's about to face a fired up forward pack led by his long-time sparring partner.

"Nathan is a great competitor and leader for Parramatta and New Zealand as well," said Civoniceva.

"I know what he will bring on Saturday night.

"It will be a great clash in the middle.

"He always leads from the front as a captain does and I'm expecting a typical Nathan Cayless performance from him.

"He won't take a backward step."

The Panthers will start slight favourites for the battle of the west due mainly to Parramatta's indifferent start to 2008 and the fact five Eels will be backing up from City-Country duty as opposed to Penrith's two.

Luke Lewis and Luke Rooney have been named on the Panthers bench and may not even play if fit on Saturday, while the Eels will be anxious that halfback Brett Finch, five-eighth Feleti Mateo, star centre Jarryd Hayne and workaholic backrowers Nathan Hindmarsh and Chad Robinson are all available to play.

Civoniceva said regardless of which Eels take to the paddock his side must be ready to face a team full of attacking potency.

"On paper it's an awesome side really and we know on their day they can trouble anyone," he said.

"Unfortunately for them it has not been the best of starts for the season and they may see tomorrow night as a bit of a turning point for them.

"We've spoken all week about I suppose their potency in the backline and they have some great forwards as well.

"If we're not on song defensively they are a side that can put some points on you."

While victory appears to be of more importance to the Eels (2-4) than the Panthers (3-3), Civoniceva says his side must deliver a win for fans who have continued to support the club despite winning just four of their past 15 home games.

"This is massive for us, (winning at home) is something we spoke about at the start of the year but hasn't panned out that way," he said.

"We had good win against South Sydney a few weeks back and it's really important for us and especially for the home fans.

"They've turned up in great numbers and the focus for us is to play well for 80 minutes, walk off with the two points and put the smiles back on the faces of our supporters."

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