Eels back Arthur to replace Moses at No.7

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Jake Arthur will go from being targeted by Parramatta fans to carrying their top-four hopes after being named to replace injured halfback Mitchell Moses.

Arthur was on Tuesday confirmed as the Eels' new No.7, with Moses set to miss at least three weeks after undergoing finger surgery.

The playmaker's inclusion headlined a raft of crucial changes and new faces across several of the NRL's premiership contenders ahead of the run to the finals.

Most notably Penrith have put their faith in Jaeman Salmon to partner Sean O'Sullivan through to the finals, with Nathan Cleary suspended.

Stephen Crichton is also back for the Panthers after requiring plastic surgery on his ear, while Mitch Kenny returns on the bench after a knee injury.

Cronulla have meanwhile opted to debut 20-year-old Kade Dykes at fullback against St George Illawarra, preferring him over Lachie Miller to replace the injured Will Kennedy.

The son of playmaker Adam and grandson of former backrower John, Dykes will become the NRL second third-generation player in the space of two weeks after Zac Fulton's Manly debut last week.

Melbourne have also backed young utility Tyran Wishart to fill their No.1 jersey, with Nick Meaney out with a shoulder injury and concussion.

Brandon Smith returns for the Storm against Gold Coast while David Nofoaluma has been drafted straight into their backline with Justin Olam struck down by COVID-19.

But of all new faces, no-one will enter in the same situation as Arthur.

A debutant last year, Arthur twice became a point of conjecture this season when targeted by Eels fans both at the ground and via social media.

Parramatta have also one of the most difficult run-ins to the finals, with matches against Manly, South Sydney, Canterbury, Brisbane and Melbourne to come.

Last week's win over Penrith has all but wrapped up a finals finish, but they will likely need to win up to four of those matches to earn a second chance come finals.

Eels players have gone to great lengths to point out they have previously let Arthur down, while also insisting the son of coach Brad Arthur had not been fazed by booing from their own fans a fortnight ago.

Elsewhere, Manly have named the majority of their boycotting seven players to return against the Eels on Friday with only Josh Aloiai sidelined by a knee injury.

The Sydney Roosters will be without Lindsay Collins (concussion) against Brisbane on Thursday, with Matt Lodge to start.

Blake Taaffe has been named to return to South Sydney's bench with Kodi Nikorima missing in their match with the Warriors on Saturday.

North Queensland have lost Kyle Feldt for two weeks with a hamstring injury, opening the door for Jamiso Tabuai-Fido to reclaim a starting spot on the wing.

Newcastle will go without David Klemmer for their clash against Wests Tigers while boosted somewhat by Bradman Best returning at centre.

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