Eels need Matterson to repay them on NRL return

Captain Clint Gutherson has called on Ryan Matterson to repay Parramatta for his time on the sidelines, and is adamant the struggling club's season is far from over despite losing their first three games.

Matterson will return for Thursday night's grand final rematch with Penrith, after opting to take a three-match ban over a $4000 fine for a crusher tackle in last year's decider.

The backrower's decision was made in the days after the grand final loss, and while he tried to change his mind over the summer and take the fine, the NRL would not allow it.

Matterson's suspension has been made more costly by fellow back-rower Shaun Lane's broken jaw, as the Eels have lost by four points against Melbourne, Cronulla and Manly.

Gutherson said there had been no banter with Matterson over his decision to sit out those games rather than pay the fine.

"We haven't really spoken about it, we just have to move on," Gutherson said.

"The boys who have stepped in have done their job and he just has to repay us."

The 28-year-old Matterson returns at a crucial stage, after starting second-rower Matt Doorey suffered a knee injury in Thursday night's loss to Manly.

Doorey has been cleared of ACL damage, but is still expected to spend some time on the sideline.

Fellow backrower Jack Murchie also suffered a concussion in the loss, and will almost certainly miss the Panthers clash as part of the NRL's protocols.

Gutherson is in no doubt about how much better the Eels having Matterson back.

"It's massive. Obviously disappointing we didn't have him for the first three," Gutherson said.

"He brings a lot of experience and skill, a big body. We can't wait to have him back. A big in for us. He's going to bring a bit of confidence we need.

"He's been with us for a few years. He's played in grand finals. He's done it all, won one. He knows how to win, he's a competitor. That's what we need in a team."

A loss against the Panthers will leave Parramatta at 0-4, a start only two teams in the game's history have recovered from to make the top four.

But Gutherson is insistent all is not lost.

"I've been in teams where we have lost five, six or seven in a row and still made the top four," he said.

"We've been close, but close isn't good enough in this competition.

"We could easily be the other way and no-one really talking about it.

"We have been in it in every game, and just shot ourselves in the foot a few times. You can't do that against quality teams."