Date: Saturday 6th June
Venue: Pepper Stadium
1 Dallin Watene Zelezniak 2 Waqa Blake 3 Dean Whare 4 Isaah Yeo 5 David Simmons 6 Jamie Soward 7 Peter Wallace 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9 James Segeyaro 10 Sam McKendry 11 Lewis Brown 12 Sika Manu 13 Elijah Taylor Int: 14 Bryce Cartwright 15 Jeremy Latimore 16 Tyrone Peachey 17 Nigel Plum 18 Adam Docker
1 Billy Slater 2 Mahe Fonua 3 Will Chambers 4 Kurt Mann 5 Marika Koroibete 6 Blake Green 7 Cooper Cronk 8 Jesse Bromwich 9 Cameron Smith 10 Tim Glasby 11 Kevin Proctor 12 Tohu Harris 13 Dale Finucane Int: 14 Ryan Hinchcliffe 15 Kenneath Bromwich 16 Dayne Weston 17 Felise Kaufusi 18 Christian Welch Nichol 19 Ben Hampton 20 Hymel Hunt
Last 10 Meetings
25th August 2014 – Penrith Panthers 10-24 Melbourne Storm
15th March 2014 – Melbourne Storm 18-17 Penrith Panthers
12th May 2013 – Penrith Panthers 12-10 Melbourne Storm
4th August 2012 – Melbourne Storm 46-6 Penrith Panthers
5th May 2012 – Penrith Panthers 10-44 Melbourne Storm
6th August 2011 – Melbourne Storm 26-6 Penrith Panthers
17th April 2011 – Penrith Panthers 10-25 Melbourne Storm
24th July 2010 – Melbourne Storm 18-10 Penrith Panthers
27th March 2010 – Penrith Panthers 10-16 Melbourne Storm
11th April 2009 – Melbourne Storm 16-14 Penrith Panthers
Penrith Panthers entertain Melbourne Storm at Pepper Stadium on Saturday night in round 13 of the 2015 NRL season.
The home side have won just one of their previous 14 encounters with Melbourne, coming in a 12-10 triumph in 2013, and of the 28 meetings of the two since 1998 they have only managed seven victories.
The last time the two met was in Sydney when the Storm completed a season double over their opponents with a 24-10 win.
The build-up to this game has been overshadowed by two high profile casualties, as the Panthers’ star fullback Matt Moylan has sustained an ankle injury and the Storm’s Fijian flyer Marika Koroibete looks set to miss six weeks with a thumb injury.
For the hosts, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak looks set to fill the number one jersey in Moylan’s absence and Dean Whare’s return from a hamstring injury sees the centre take Robert Jennings’ place. Tyrone Peachey is also available after serving a suspension.
For the visiting Melbourne side they will have to fill the massive void left by Koroibete but will be helped by Billy Slater returning after his rest last week, with Cameron Munster making way.
Penrith started this season with a lot of promise after their brilliant 2014 season however they are yet to reach the highs of last year, with points difference keeping them in the top eight at the moment.
Melbourne are four points ahead of the Panthers in fourth spot with seven wins and four losses, with their Premiership hopes well and truly alive as they approach the second half of the season.
Both sides go into this one off the back of a loss though with the hosts losing to Parramatta Eels 26-20 last week and Storm failing to cross the whitewash in a disappointing 24-2 loss at the hands of Sydney Roosters.
The key battles in this game will be in the halves as it is Jamie Soward and Peter Walace up against Cooper Cronk and Blake Green, and whoever is the dominant pairing in this one could end up winning the game for their side.
There is a lot of size up front too and both sides will be marshalled by quality hookers in the shape of James Segeyaro and Cameron Smith. If Segeyaro’s forward pack give him the chance to dart from dummy half he could run wild, although if they are pegged back by Smith’s clever kicking game it could nullify his threat.
It will be interesting to see how the Panthers cope without their wonder boy Moylan and with Slater returning it would have been an intriguing battle of the number ones if he wasn’t out injured.
Last year they were involved in two close encounters and you can expect the same this time out, as it could take a moment of magic from one of the many big names involved for either side to win this one.
Prediction: Melbourne will be disappointed with their poor performance in Sydney last week and they won’t want to make it back-to-back defeats there. Penrith haven’t been at their best this year and could still have a big performance up their sleeves, however the visitors have been solid this season and should see out the game. Storm by 12.