The Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders travel to Bathurst in country NSW, as they prepare to play each other for the second time this season. Penrith have played well so far this season but don’t seem to be able to win consistently. The Raiders have been similar but enter this match on the back of an impressive win against the Tigers.

LAST TIME OUT

Penrith dominated huge portions of their game against Cronulla but ended up losing the match by two points. The Panthers actually scored one try more than the Sharks but inaccurate kicking from Soward and two Maloney penalties for the Sharks determined the win. Throughout the match, Penrith’s forwards were impressive with Fisher-Harris the pick of them, with two tries. A season-ending injury to rookie pivot Te Maire Martin is a blow to the side but Segeyaro’s return is a timely boost.
Canberra dominated the Tigers for all but 20 minutes of the match. It was their forwards that inflicted the early damage with Shannon Boyd and Paul Vaughan running hard at the Tigers line. Josh Hodgson set up the first three tries of the game before Joey Leilua and Jordan Rapana scored six tries between them. The mammoth win moves the Raiders up to seventh on the ladder.

KEY BATTLE

The battle between Bryce Cartwright and Elliot Whitehead will decide this match. Both players have been highly effective in attack for their teams with Cartwright scoring three tries already this season and Whitehead having scored two. Whitehead also has formed an exciting right edge combination which includes Rapana and Leilua.
In defence, Whitehead is the sounder of the two second rowers. The English second rower averages close to 40 tackles per game. Although Cartwright will improve, he currently has missed the second most tackles in the NRL with 33. Considering he is up against Whitehead, Rapana, and Leilua, Cartwright will need to have one of his best defensive games to keep the trio at bay.

PREDICTION

The Panthers have played well but haven’t capitalised on their opportunities. The team leads the NRL in the unfortunate statistic of having missed the most tackles so far this season. Against the Tigers, the Raiders really simplified their football when setting the foundations for the win by running the ball hard and tackling hard. If the Raiders can play that simple version of football it will provide a platform for Hodgson and their right edge to do some damage.
Raiders by ten.

SQUADS

Panthers: 1Matthew Moylan, 2 Joshua Mansour, 3 Dean Whare, 4 Peta Hiku, 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6 Jamie Soward, 7 Peter Wallace, 8 Lelani Latu, 9 James Segeyaro, 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Bryce Cartwright, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 Trent Merrin. Interchange: 14 Tyrone Peachey, 15 Jeremy Latimore, 16 Suaia Matagi, 17 James Fisher, 20 Sam McKendry.
Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton 2 Edrick Lee 3 Jarrod Croker 4 Joseph Leilua 5 Jordan Rapana 6 Sam Williams 7 Aidan Sezer 8 Shannon Boyd 9 Josh Hodgson 10 Paul Vaughan 11 Josh Papalii 12 Elliot Whitehead 13 Shaun Fensom Interchange: 14 Kurt Baptiste 15 Luke Bateman 16 Clay Priest 17 Joseph Tapine 18 Frank Paul Nuuausala.