Buddies become rivals in the fight for the west

It’s been a tense week for fellow Merrylands Antoine Mouawad and Noel Haddad.

Haddad’s Panthers and Mouawad’s Eels meet for the first time in a major NRL final on Sunday. Both are convinced of the chances of their team.

Antoine Mouawad and Noel Haddad enjoy the excitement in west Sydney ahead of the first NRL major final between Parramatta and Penrith.

Antoine Mouawad and Noel Haddad enjoy the excitement in west Sydney ahead of the first NRL major final between Parramatta and Penrith. Recognition:Stefan Siewert

“The Penrith fans, especially Noel, are all over the moon,” Mouawad said. “So it will feel even better if we beat them.”

“We’re not cocky at all, we’re very humble people,” Haddad quipped back. “I think Penrith with 2. It’s going to be a close game – both teams want it.”

They can agree on one thing: Sydney’s west has embraced the historic grand final between neighboring teams. The match at the Accor Stadium is a sell-out, Penrith is burning for a third win in a row; Parramatta a sea of ​​blue and gold as the Eels attempt to break a 36-year drought in their first major final appearance in 13 years.

“I don’t think I’ve seen that much Parra gear since 2009. It’s a crazy atmosphere,” Mouawad said. “That’s why we like to do big finals. It’s not just for the game, it’s for the week leading up to it.”

Haddad will be watching the game with his family on the big screen. “It will be nice to be together and watch the Panthers win the Premier League for the second straight year,” he said.

Mouawad will go to church in the morning “to pray for Parra” before making the trip to Homebush to watch the Eels’ NRLW team take on Newcastle in the first game of the double-header.

Penrith couple Victoria Garry and Jack Martin will also attend the game but they will not sit together. Garry is hoping for their first Eels debut while Martin has his eye on back-to-back wins for the Panthers.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/it-s-going-to-feel-even-better-when-we-beat-them-mates-become-rivals-in-battle-for-the-west-20221001-p5bmfs.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national Buddies become rivals in the fight for the west

Joel McCord

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