SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 16: Ryan Matterson of the Tigers acknowledges fans as he leaves the field during the round 1 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at Leichhardt Oval on March 16, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Ryan Matterson and Luke Garner have a way of intertwining their careers, and it won't change anytime soon as the pair face off on opposite sides of the field on Thursday.

After finding a home at lock in 2022, Matterson looks set to be shunted back to an edge this season in a bid to accommodate recruit J'maine Hopgood, an early contender for buy of the year.

Meanwhile Garner has bid au revoir to Concord in favour of Penrith, attempting to fill a Viliame Kikau-shaped hole on the Panthers' left-edge. However while the two seem totally different characters, their past continues to link them.

Both were in and around the Sydney Roosters' squad in 2016, however only Matterson would go to play for the tri-colours at NRL level. The duo actually played a singular NSW Cup game alongside one another for the Wyong Roos.

However in a sign of the times, Garner started in the centres whilst Matterson took up playmaking duties at five-eighth, now both are strong, physical hole-running edge forwards.

The two wouldn't link up again until 2019, Matterson's sole season in Concord, playing 14 first-grade games together for the Wests Tigers, and linking up as a starting back-row pair in six of the clashes.

Thursday night though, all that history goes out the window with both carrying plenty on their shoulders.

Garner has been quickly criticised by Penrith fans, somewhat expecting the former Tiger to become Viliame Kikau, with the edge forward still adjusting to the intensity that the Panthers play with week in, week out.

After a quiet World Club Challenge and Round 1 affair, Garner picked up his involvement against South Sydney, although dropped a number of balls before enjoying the bye last weekend.

Zac Hosking is snapping at his heels for a spot, meaning Garner needs to step up, or risk being dropped from the starting line-up.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 11: Luke Garner of the Tigers takes on the defence during the round five NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Wests Tigers at Suncorp Stadium on April 11, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, we all know the story of Ryan Matterson, and his decision to opt for a suspension over a fine.

Compounding his decision is the fact that Parramatta have lost all three games without the one-time Origin player, and all by exactly four points.

Fans and the media have called him a bad teammate in unison over the past few weeks, with his decision already costing him the starting lock role, and will no doubt have heard the criticism over the past five months.

The 28-year-old will be busting to get out there and prove his worth, make up for last time, and more importantly, get Parramatta a victory.

Only the Eels and Wests Tigers head into Round 4 without tasting victory in 2023.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 15: Ryan Matterson of the Eels celebrates scoring a try during the round 10 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium, on May 15, 2022, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

However, the pressured pair will now face off on Thursday night, Garner on the left edge with Matterson on Parramatta's right.

They're rivals by no means, but there's no doubt the two will be eager to prove themselves in an absolute must-win encounter.

The duo will both take their place in the grand final rematch on Thursday night as Parramatta put their focus into winning by any means necessary, while Penrith will look to get themselves back to a winning record.