The Panthers victory over the Raiders last Sunday showed what a difference injecting new blood into a team can make to team performance. Sika Manu, Wes Naiqama and Lewis Brown led from the front. Dean Whare looked comfortable at fullback. James Segeyaro was outstanding and caused plenty of headaches for last year’s finalists. One concern though was at 18-10 after five minutes of back to back sets on the Raiders line, a penalty resulted in kicking for goal instead of keeping the pressure on. It made no difference to the end score but it did seem an odd decision at the time.
The Raiders week didn’t get any better with the sacking of Josh Dugan and a fine handed out to Blake Ferguson for off-field behaviour issues. It’s not the first time the pair have thumbed their nose at officials and Ferguson must be on his final warning at the club. Dave Shillington summed up the frustration in an article he wrote for the Canberra Times on Friday and how Ferguson is prepared to change his ways to be spared being sacked. To read his article go to http://www.canberratimes.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/if-you-lose-your-trust-in-a-player-he-has-to-go-for-the-good-of-the-team-20130314-2g3w6.html.
Canberra could take heart from the Sharks performance where they showed plenty of grit after a dramatic week to end up on top over the Titans in the Sunday night game. Their problem may be backing up week after week and displaying that type of emotional performance while under the ASADA drug cloud. The story at Manly is sure to develop over the next few weeks with revelations Josh Perry’s house was used to inject substances.
Today the Panthers play at Campbelltown against first round disappointment West Tigers. A heavy loss at Newcastle on Monday night can not be taken lightly. Benji Marshall, Braith Anasta and Robbie Farah will need to be shut down for the Panthers to go two from two at the start of this season. The Panthers will win if they can put on the same type of performance as last week and control the game.
I am looking forward to see this new look Panthers side go around and represent the Pride of the West, the Pride of Penrith this afternoon. After all, We Own the West!
Today it’s the Panthers time to shine. With a host of players making their debuts Panther fans have something to be excited about. Canberra’s horrible early round form I think is set to continue and I’m expecting Lachlan Coote and Dean Whare to provide the strike power out wide to get us home. With injury doubts over Josh Dugan and Jarrod Croker, the Raiders are taking a desperate punt to secure first up points.
Have a great Sunday and enjoy the game!