The Penrith Panthers will be looking to pick up their first win since their round 4 thumping of the Newcastle Knights, when they host the New Zealand Warriors at Pepper Stadium. Neither side has been able to string together consistent good performances so far in 2017, and with the Warriors winning their last game against the Roosters, it’s a great chance for them to do so.

LAST TIME OUT

The last time these teams met was in a tight round 21 battle last season. The Warriors ended up getting the chocolates in extra time through a brilliant piece of Shaun Johnson magic. David Fusitua and Josh Mansour each bagged doubles in the close encounter. Mansour’s two tries in the last 15 minutes went unconverted to send the match into golden point extra time. From there both sides missed chances to win the match, but Johnson stepped up in the 89th minute. After setting up for a field goal, Johnson stepped off his right foot to beat the rushing defence of Matt Moylan and Peter Wallace and accelerated through some tired defenders to win the game for his New Zealand Warriors.

KEY BATTLE

It’s the battle between two struggling fullbacks that catches my eye. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has started to find form for the Warriors over the last few weeks, but has been nowhere near his best this season. While Panthers number one Matthew Moylan has been out of touch so far in 2017, playing as well as the players around him in a side sitting in 15th. They are two very different players with varied styles of play. RTS has potential to run through any set of defence in the world on his day, while Moylan’s ball playing ability can be used as a pivotal asset for his team.

PREDICTION

The Warriors have a history of being inconsistent, and after beating the Roosters last round; many would be expecting a loss against the Panthers. Especially after many Penrith players seemed to have played themselves back into form in the City v Country match last Sunday. It will be another close one between these teams either way, but I can’t see Penrith losing another game on the trot. – Panthers by 2

SQUADS

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

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu’a, 3. Blake Ayshford, 4. Solomone Kata, 18. Manu Vatuvei, 6. Kieran Foran, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. James Gavet, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Jacob Lillyman, 11. Bodene Thompson, 12. Ryan Hoffman, 17. Ben Matulino. Interchange: 14. Nathaniel Roache, 15. Sam Lisone, 16. Ligi Sao, 23. Albert Vete. 20. Mason Lino, 21. Bunty Afoa, 22. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad