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RD 13 MATCH PREVIEW: PENRITH PANTHERS VS GOLD COAST TITANS

Squads

Titans: William Zillman, Kevin Gordon, Brad Tighe, Brad Takairangi, David Mead, Maurice Blair, Albert Kelly, Luke Douglas, Matt Srama, Nate Myles (c), Greg Bird (c), David Taylor, Ben Ridge. Interchange: Matthew White, Luke Bailey, Mark Minichiello, Paul Carter, James Roberts

Panthers: Matt Moylan, Josh Mansour, Dean Whare, Isaah Yeo, David Simmons, Jamie Soward, Peter Wallace, Sam McKendry, James Segeyaro, Brent Kite, Sika Manu, Tyrone Peachey, Elijah Taylor. Interchange: Lewis Brown, Jeremy Latimore, Nigel Plum, Bryce Cartwright

Ivan Cleary names unchanged team

There’s little to talk about on the team front other than to say Ivan Cleary has made no changes to the seventeen the dominated Parramatta last Friday night.  Bryce Cartwright  and Isaah Yeo retain their spots in the side that is still missing a few regular NRL players.  Cleary continues to have confidence in Segeyaro starting at nine which means Kingston can be rested for another week.  It’s been a great week for the club with Josh Mansour extending his contract with the Panthers until the end of 2016.  Penrith are aiming for four straight wins, something that hasn’t been achieved by the under performing club since completing the feat twice in 2010.  That year Penrith last made the finals.

All stats courtesy of rugby league project

Updated injury list courtesy of www.penrithpanthers.com.au

KEVIN KINGSTON: Tore a ligament in his ankle in round 8. He will be rested for another week

ADAM DOCKER: Pulled up sore after training and will be given plenty of time to fully recover from a few knocks and bruises

ISAAC JOHN: Ruptured his achilles in round 9. Out for the season.

GEORGE JENNINGS: He dislocated his elbow in our Auckland Nines quarter final and underwent surgery to repair the damage. Out for the season

Gold Coast welcome back Greg Bird

Greg Bird is one of many players returning for the Gold Coast side this weekend.  Bird was suspended for a lifting tackle on Bryson Goodwin in their loss to South Sydney on May 10.  He will resume his battle with Sika Manu with the two involved in a heated exchange in Penrith’s win against the Gold Coast earlier this season.  Nate Myles is back from Origin duties and trio Kevin Gordon, Albert Kelly and Brad Takairangi are rushed back into the Titans line-up.  Myles is in doubt after missing Titans training on Wednesday.  The players making way are Anthony Don, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Beau Henry, Mark Ioane and Beau Falloon.  James Roberts is named in the squad to face his former club after having his contract terminated earlier in the season.  The Titans are looking to end a three game losing streak and in doing so, winning their first game at CBUS Super Stadium since April 11 when they beat Brisbane in the dying moments of the game.

The 645 day journey…

Who would have believed that Penrith haven’t played a game in Brisbane or on the Gold Coast since 31st August 2012?  We missed out in this corner of Queensland last year when the Titans decided to take the game to Darwin, robbing south-east Queensland fans of seeing their side play.

By Saturday, the 645 day drought is over.  Since that night where Brisbane won 19-12, the club has progressed in the right direction.  A guy called Wallace scored a try, two goals and a field goal to get the Broncos home that night.  Now he’s back at the club in his second stint with the club.

The Panthers club had a tough battle convincing fans that we were heading in the right direction after club legends were ‘forced’ from the club.  This current squad is missing Michael Gordon, Michael Jennings, Lachlan Coote, and Luke Walsh from the team that were handed defeat on August 31 2012.  And Luke Lewis didn’t play the game but moved to Cronulla for a new start.  Looking back, it seemed the calculated risk has paid off as the club has risen above expectations as we approach the mid part of the season.

In 2013 new fresh faces started to pop up at the club and the ‘bash brothers’ was formed with Nigel Plum and Adam Docker headlining an improved season where the club beat the likes of Manly, Brisbane and Melbourne.  Our best win against the NZ Warriors threatened club point scoring records.  Boom rookie fullback Matt Moylan moved into a permanent role at fullback, which allowed the club to offload Lachlan Coote to North Queensland at the end of last year.

For the first time south-east Queensland fans get to see live on the Gold Coast Moylan, Dean Whare, Isaah Yeo, Jamie Soward, James Segeyaro, Brent Kite, Sika Manu, Tyrone Peachey, Elijah Taylor, Lewis Brown, Jeremy Latimore and Bryce Cartwright play NRL footy in Panther colours.

Just goes to show how far we as a club have come since August 31, 2012.

The history books

These two sides are meeting for the fifth time at Robina.  Penrith scored a 36-22 victory in 2008 with Michael Gordon scoring twenty points, with two tries and six goals.  2009 and despite Lachlan Coote’s hat-trick, Gold Coast were too good for the Panthers 38-24.  In 2011 the Panthers won 23-10 and it was Michael Jennings who broke his ten game try scoring drought in victory.  Jennings was injured during the game and spent six weeks on the sidelines.  Travis Burns, Adrian Purtell and Kevin Kingston were the other scorers on that night.  In our last game on a warm Sunday afternoon, June 17 2012, the Gold Coast led 18-0 at the break and went on to win 36-18.  The side: Coote, Uaisele, Jennings, Tighe, Earl, Siejka, Walsh, Dayne Weston, Kingston, Grant, Newton, Ciraldo, Simpkins, Plum, Galea, Taumata and Armit.  Nigel Plum, the only surviving member of that 2012 side who will face the Titans this weekend.

What could happen…

Penrith edged out Gold Coast in their round 6 clash with a 14-12 victory.   Going into the game it was the Titans aiming for four consecutive wins.  Now it’s Penrith looking to win their fourth in a row when they travel to Robina on Saturday evening.

It’s a Panthers side gaining confidence in attack by the week.  Last week that Jamie Soward and Peter Wallace orchestrated a crushing win over rivals Parramatta in front of a big home crowd.  Josh Mansour put in an exceptional performance as he is closely watched by New South Wales selectors in the lead up to Origin II.  Matt Moylan continues to be safe at the back and is looking dangerous in attack as each week passes by.  The forward pack, despite the loss of Adam Docker for a second consecutive week is strong.  They will need to dominate the forward battle if they are to go on and win the game.  It could be Tyrone Peachey that is the game-breaker as he lurks on the fringes against a tiring Titans pack.  I expect Penrith will play another attacking game and back themselves on being solid in defense and forcing Titans errors.

The Gold Coast have been disappointing as they stare down the barrel of a fourth straight loss.  They hung on for sixty minutes against the Warriors two weeks back in a game where they lost five-eighth Aiden Sezer to a long-term pectoral injury.  Another blow for the Titans who are without Ashley Harrison and Beau Falloon.  There are question marks about the fitness of Nate Myles on game eve.  For the Titans it will be Dave Taylor who will be looking for a big game as he presses for Queensland Origin selection in game II.  I expect he will play out wide and try and run at Soward, Wallace and Peachey.  Greg Bird is also a welcome return for the Titans and is in a similar situation to Taylor but looking for Blues selection.  He will resume his duel with Sika Manu.  Zillman, Gordon and Mead are all capable of putting points on the board, providing Albert Kelly and Maurice Blair get the ball out to them.  But it will be the Titans who will want to play a grinding forward game.  If they dominate in the forwards and contain the Panthers halves, they could be on their way to an upset win.

So who wins?

Despite being away from home, Penrith have got enough points in them to take out a Gold Coast Titans side that is down on confidence.  Tyrone Peachey, Matt Moylan and Josh Mansour to be pivotal in victory.  We hope the boys can put on a show for the dedicated Penrith Panther fans north of the border.



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