Date: 8th March 2014
Kick-off: 5:30pm (Sydney time)
Panthers: Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour, Dean Whare, Jamal Idris, Dave Simmons, Jamie Soward, Peter Wallace, Brent Kite, Kevin Kingston (c), Tim Grant, Lewis Brown, Elijah Taylor, Adam Docker. Interchange: James Segeyaro, Nigel Plum, Tyrone Peachey, Sam McKendry, Jeremy Latimore
Knights: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Joey Leilua, Akuila Uate, Michael Dobson, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Kurt Gidley (c), Willie Mason, Beau Scott, Robbie Rochow, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Travis Waddell, Chris Houston, Alex McKinnon, Adam Cuthbertson, David Fa’alogo
There’s no doubt Newcastle will try to play this game through the forwards. A ‘bash and barge’ approach in an attempt to ware out the Panthers in the middle of the park. Giving the likes of Uate and McManus through creativity from Tyrone Roberts to post points. Penrith on the other hand won’t be afraid to push the ball wide and get it to the likes of Idris, Whare and Simmons for scoring opportunities. They will also kick deep into the corners with both Wallace and Soward handy in that department.
Penrith are in the best position in the halves with Wallace and Soward looking a much stronger combination than their counterparts in Tyrone Roberts and Michael Dobson (despite playing his 200th career game this weekend has played the majority in Super League). The Panthers have a slight advantage in the forwards with Brent Kite and Elijah Taylor inclusions in the starting thirteen.
Penrith are in a better position on the bench with impact players Tyrone Peachey and James Segeyaro to come into their own with a tiring Knights pack. Travis Waddell is the only bench player for the visitors who would strike fear into the opposition as they go for the ‘bash and barge approach’. Could that be to Newcastle’s detriment?
If you’re expecting either team to be at their best round one – think again! With temperatures in the mid-20’s expected, expect some handling errors and fatigue to set in quicker.
So for a result. The heart and head this week says Penrith. This is a game where Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace can show Panther fans they were worth recruiting. If these guys make the right decisions and control the game, the Panthers will get home and in doing so break a horrible record against the Knights. Mullen not playing does help the Panthers cause.