The Panthers will be looking to fire up for their first home game of the season as the Roosters aim to make it a perfect 3-0 start to the year.

Last Time Out

The Panthers made the scars of a 42-10 defeat to the Dragons in Round 1 seem like a bad dream as they trounced the Tigers 36-2. The opening 30 minutes of the game was a tight contest with a penalty goal each being the only additions to the scoreboard. One team eventually had to crack and it was the Tigers. With 10 to go in the first half, the Panthers sliced through the line and piled on three tries before the half-time siren rung. From there it was all one way traffic in the 2nd half. The most pleasing aspect of the performance would have been restricting the Tigers to just 2 points. After conceding 7 tries the week before, to the 2nd worst attacking team in 2016, the defensive resolve shown against the Tigers was an impressive statement.

The Roosters made it difficult on themselves in a narrow 28-24 victory. After conceding the opening two tries of the match, the Chooks fired back with 22 unanswered points. Like last week, errors proved costly and this allowed the Bulldogs to mount a comeback. The game finished at 5 tries apiece with goal kicking accuracy proving to be the ultimate defence. It was a close call for the Roosters who need to polish up their performances over the 80 minutes.

Key Battle

The outside backs and ability to score points. Both teams boast potent attacking backlines with a mix of inexperienced young players looking to make the most of their opportunities. Joseph Manu will suit up for his fourth ever first grade game while Dylan Edwards was strong in his debut game against the Tigers, scoring a try.

The clash of the fullbacks will be a key match-up of the contest. Matt Moylan’s ball-playing skills will be a focal point of the Panthers goal-line attack while Gordon’s support play and positioning will be important in getting good metres off kick returns and backing up on any potential line breaks.

The team whose backs are getting their sets off to good starts and capitalizing on opportunities will likely belong to the winning team on Saturday. The difference in class between the two 1-5’s on the day will determine the winner.

Prediction

After 2 games it’s hard to read into just how well these two teams are going. Roosters have put a ton of points on the board but have been guilty of making errors and letting teams back into games. The Panthers were simply awful in Round 1 but a defensive powerhouse in Round 2 against an opposition who turned in a woeful performance.

I expect a high scoring game with the Roosters to slightly edge ahead for the victory. Roosters by 4+

Squads
Penrith Panthers
1. Matt Moylan ©
2. Dean Whare
3. Waqa Blake
4. Tyrone Peachey
5. Dylan Edwards
6. Te Maire Martin
7. Nathan Cleary
8. James Tamou
9. Peter Wallace
10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
11. Bryce Cartwright
12. Isaah Yeo
13. Trent Merrin
Interchange
14. James Fisher-Harris
15. Leilani Latu
16. Viliame Kikau
17. Sitaleki Akauola
Reserves
18. Moses Leota
19. Tim Browne
20. Peta Hiku
21. Dallin Watene Zelezniak

Sydney Roosters
1. Michael Gordon
2. Daniel Tupou
3. Latrell Mitchell
4. Joseph Manu
5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall
6. Luke Keary
7. Mitchell Pearce
8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
9. Jake Friend ©
10. Dylan Napa
11. Boyd Cordner ©
12. Mitchell Aubusson
13. Aidan Guerra
Interchange
14. Isaac Liu
15. Zane Tetevano
16. Ryan Matterson
17. Connor Watson
Reserves
18. Chris Smith
19. Paul Carter
20. Lindsay Collins
22. Mitchell Cornish