The Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs face off in what will be an important game for both sides at Panthers Stadium in round 2.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
After looking down and out against the Eels last week after just half an hour, the Panthers managed to claw their way back from a 14-0 deficit to win the game 24-14. While Parramatta didn’t put up much of a fight in the second half, Penrith took their opportunities and looked impressive.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
The Rabbitohs were the favoured side heading into their round 1 clash with the Warriors last week. Unfortunately for Anthony Seibold his side wasn’t able to deliver on these expectations in his first game as head coach. New Zealand ran away 32-20 winners, as South Sydney struggled defensively.
Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Viliame Kikau were two of Penrith’s best last week, and have been named to start despite coming off the bench against the Eels. The Panthers are otherwise unchanged.
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS
Young halfback Adam Doueihi will debut in place of the injured Adam Reynolds, Sam Burgess shifts into the front row, with Cam Murray filling the 13 jersey. Tyrell Fuimaono has also grabbed a bench spot.
The Panthers have had the edge over the Rabbitohs in most of their previous meetings, winning 15 out of the last 21 matches played between the two clubs. 10 of those wins were by a margin of 12 points or higher. In their last meeting in round 17 last season, South Sydney were big winners, hammering Penrith 42-14. Rabbitohs speedster Alex Johnston scored 5 tries that day.
The battle of the young fullbacks is an intriguing one. Dylan Edwards was fantastic for Penrith against the Eels last week, despite a shaky start, while Alex Johnstone struggled to make a big impact for the Rabbitohs against the Warriors. We all know how good Johnston can be, and with his electric speed, anything could happen. However Edwards is only going to keep improving on his round 1 performance, and if South Sydney don’t fix their defence, it could be a field day.
“Every team wants to start the year well. They’re (South Sydney) gonna be up for a big game, obviously they’re going to be trying to bounce back from last week.” – Penrith Panthers captain Peter Wallace.
“They’re big boys (Penrith forwards), they run very hard, it’s going to be a good challenge for us.” South Sydney Rabbitohs forward Tom Burgess.
Greg Inglis has a knack of scoring against Penrith at Penrith, with 6 tries in his last 6 games.
Panthers: 1 Dylan Edwards, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Waqa Blake, 4 Tyrone Peachey, 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6 James Maloney, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 James Tamou, 9 Peter Wallace (c), 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Isaah Yeo, 13 Trent Merrin
Interchange: 14 Corey Harawira-Naera, 15 Sam McKendry, 16 Moses Leota, 17 James Fisher-Harris
Reserves: 18 Sione Katoa, 19 Tim Browne, 20 Dean Whare, 21 Christian Crichton
Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Richie Kennar, 3 Dane Gagai, 4 Greg Inglis (c), 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Doueihi, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Sam Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Cameron Murray
Interchange: 14 Tyrell Fuimaono, 15 Mark Nicholls, 16 George Burgess, 17 Tevita Tatola
Reserves: 18 Robbie Farah, 19 Jason Clark, 20 Hymel Hunt, 21 Vincent Leuluai
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 17th March
Venue: Panthers Stadium
WHO WILL WIN?